It was time for home visits.
Now, undoubtedly some of you are wondering just what home visits are…well, to put it simply: they are visits to someone’s home.
Yeah, pretty self-explanatory.
I decided to start doing home visits a few years ago when I transferred to a new school. My incoming students (as well as their parents) had absolutely no idea of who I was, and I could think of no better way to introduce myself than to personally swing by. This way I could let the kids know just who I was, tell them how excited I was to have them in my class, and drop off their first two homework assignments of the school year—due the first day.
I already can tell what you’re probably thinking. Teachinfourth, you really give homework during the summer? Before the year even begins? The answer I give to that question is a hearty, “You betcha.”
As I see it, being required to do homework before school starts sets the standard for the rest of the year, and gives the students a basic idea of what to expect in the days ahead. No only that, many of the students are bored after three or four weeks of vacation, so homework is a way of fixing this little predicament.
Okay, the assignments are fun, too. After all, I don’t have a heart completely made of ice.
Home visits can be—like I said earlier—a lot of fun; however, you never can be too sure just what it is you’re going to get in regard to parents (most of whom I’ve never met) or students who are—more often than not—surprised to see you at their house…after all, teachers belong at the school, seeing them someplace else is usually cause for something like a brain aneurysm.
I approached the door of my student’s home and knocked soundly. A moment later, the door cracked open and I immediately recognized ‘Joey,’ one of the boys who’d be in my class this year. He looked sheepishly through the crack in the door, and upon seeing me, a look of recognition flashed across his face, followed by a glaze of excitement.
I let him know that I was coming around for a short visit to meet with he and his parents, and to drop off his first homework assignments. I asked if they had a few minutes of time.
Joey’s eyes widened a little, and he stammered for a second before admitting, “I’m not wearing any clothes right now, Mr. Z.”
How does one respond to something like this? After all, I know that when somebody comes by my house and I’m not dressed, I usually put something on before answering the door—or I don’t answer the door at all. Of course, maybe he wasn’t ready for the day because it was simply too early—one o’clock in the afternoon can be such an early hour for some people, or perhaps it was just too hot to get dressed.
From the interior of the house Joey’s father told him to go and put something on. The boy turned and walked down the hall, inadvertently causing the door to swing inward, revealing him walking down the hall wearing nothing more than a pair of Fruit of the Loom.
And this, my friends, was just the beginning.
It was nearly 4 hours later that I finally completed my last call, and slumped down in my car with a migraine beginning to pulse in my skull. The visits were fun, the day was long, and I had met with 20 of 26 students and/or their parents. My mind careened through the varied reactions I’d received on doorsteps including everything from bewilderment, awe, and pure unadulterated excitement as groups of students and their friends shrieked like they were attendees at a Justin Bieber concert.
Home visits, just like those Christmas presents from your eccentric Aunt Rhonda, make you realize that you just never know quite what you’re going to get.
P.S. If you’d like to do one of the class’ assignments, you can view that here.
Image garnered from: http://www.examiner.com