He busts into the class, hood up,
eyes scanning the room.
It is hard to tell if his eyes
are searching for friends or warily
appraising what the content may have waiting.
J. has come a long way this year.
The sullen, young man
that entered in September,
has given way to a frequently gregarious,
slightly more open version of himself.
When he thinks no one is looking,
J. guides nearby classmates if they are confused.
J. is on time, mostly prepared and willing to participate when asked.
The maturing student in J. has started to peek out
from under his guarded exterior.
However, he refuses to give up the ghost in one area.
“I hate reading,” he says as automatically as one might say hello.
“Oh, that’s a shame,” I say,
“because I just got the hottest new graphic novel title
and I was going to have you try it first.”
His eyes slide up from under the lip of his hood,
“What’s it about?”
As other students clamor to get their hands on the newest book first,
J. somewhat reluctantly accepts the title.
Later on, I see him reading in a comfortable chair.
The next day, when another student asks if he is finished with the book,
J. smiles and says not yet.
“You want me to tell you about it though?” he offers.
J. may not realize it but he is moving from resistant student to classroom teacher.