Everyone has off days...but man I must be off my game today!
The middle school in my current district has a swimming pool. Each of the classes in the district are invited to come 45 minutes a day for two weeks and receive swim lessons.
WHOA do 5th graders not want to swim! You have to wear wayyyy less clothes than normal while doing something you haven't necessarily had a lot of exposure doing, at the very moment that your hormones have started a crazy jig inside your body. I mean, it sounds like my personal hell too and I'm supposedly old and mature...or something.
Anyway, they pretty much HAVE TO swim but they also have to get permission slips signed in order to be allowed to swim. My children are way too old and wise for their own good. They know that nobody is making them dip one toe into that water unless they've got the signature to prove that it's allowed. So, of course, the first thing they told me (en masse) is that they wouldn't be bringing them back.
Well, upon threat of death, I managed to persuade my more pliable students...except for one. One of my most quiet, sweet, shy, and admittedly larger boys has adamantly protested (it's mostly been a silent protest). Today, during my normal death threat monologue he must have formulated a plan.
Periodically throughout the day he started to pull me aside and discuss random ailments with me. I was duly sympathetic and kind, but as they were minor concerns spaced well enough apart, I wasn't in the position to do much about it. It took me until his last and final hint (yeah, I'm really slow today) when he specifically mentioned the trouble he has in regards to water and his nose that I realized he was trying to prepare me for the big let-down. There is no way that this kid plans on bringing that permission slip back to school with him.
So I started a little hinting of my own about the horrible fates one must endure should they elect not to take place in this wonderful activity. He legitimately would prefer any one of them to getting in that water.
Now, I had my fair share (if not more than my fair share) of reasons to be humiliated by a situation like this in my own 5th grade year, but I was not allowed by my parents, friends, and the general world to let that stop me from doing or accomplishing anything. I think it's part of what has made me strong and more confident than I have any right being. At the same time, I don't want to scar the kid for life.
In this case I'm a bit perplexed about how firmly to draw my line.