Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Whiskers Forward

I have a student in my homeroom who has been very shy all year. She never turns on her camera, and in fact, before Fall Conferences she told her dad that I had never seen her before. It was true-- my image of her was based on the photo in my grade book, a picture that had been taken early in fifth grade. When she finally made an appearance for the conference, I was kind of surprised at how much she'd changed: the little girl with pigtails and smile was replaced by a middle schooler with a high and tight mop of curls and an anxious frown. 

After that? I heard her voice (although rarely), but the slash across her camera icon remained steadfastly present, even during the second conference. That is until last week. 

A bunch of the other kids in our group are certified goofballs: they are forever wearing hats and masks, waving papers and books and posters, and parading their stuffies and pets across the screen for us. There were a couple of cats waving in the gallery when her hand went up. 

"Hey!" I said brightly. "Do you have a question?"

"No," she said quietly, "but I do have a comment."

"Go ahead!" I said.

"We're getting two kittens next week," she reported.

Well, the class went a little wild and wouldn't give up until she had posted a picture of her kittens-to-be in the chat. 

And then today? That hand went up again. "We got our kittens," she told us. 

And what do you know? There she was on camera, first with a very stubborn and wiggly gray-striped kitten held up to her cheek, and then again cradling a quite compliant orange-striped baby.

"So cute! Congratulations!" I said, as the image faded to a little circle with her initials. 

But my fingers are crossed that those kittens will be a little less camera shy than their girl.


  1. Oh that's why pets are such a good idea. They bring out the best in people!

  2. Pets are so good for everyone including the shy ones! I am so happy she turned her camera on to share. So cute!

  3. That is the sweetest. Pets have been one of the best parts of distance learning. Why can't we just bring them in?

  4. I know exactly whom you're talking about! I love the images here of the tight mop of curls, the goofballs, and the precious babies.

  5. This is a good year to have goofy sixth graders in home room. But I’m with sullen eighth graders this year, and I’m learning to read their voices in a way I probably wouldn’t be able to with faces (and silliness) to distract me. Kittens FTW every time!