Happening upon a fifth grader from last year's class sitting in the 3rd and 4th grade hall, "Hi, S., how are you doing?" No answer.
"Is this where you're supposed to be?" Shrug.
"Where is your class?" Shrug.
"Does your teacher know you're here?" Shrug
"Do you want to hang out with me?" Head nod, yes. "Come on, then." Wrapping an arm around him, I turned him toward the stairs that led up to his classroom.
"You're just tricking me into going back!"
"I want to hang out with you, but we'll both get in trouble if it's not ok with your teacher. You might not care, but I need my job. So, let's go see what she says…"
Walking into the room, arm still around him, "I found a stray, Ms. W."
"How are feeling about strays today, Ms. Monte?" (It was clear that she had been having a hard time with him.)
"I love them."
"Great. S., come back when you're ready."
He stayed with me in the 4th grade rooms for two hours- joining a reading group, helping to organize some things, and I gave him a list of questions to ask each student while they worked on their writing projects. I kept an arm around him whenever possible. At one point, when my arms were full of books, he put his hand on my shoulder as we walked down the hall together.
When it was time for me to leave, he waved and smiled as he headed back to his class. I'm not sure which of us enjoyed the time more.