Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dear Mrs. Dunham

Dear Mrs. Dunham
(A note home from the sixth-grade teacher.)

I just want to say what a delight it is to have your grandson in our class. Such a handsome young lad. Over the years, I have had several students transfer from foreign countries. Let me assure you that he is adjusting quite well.

Even though he joined us between semesters, he is very popular with all the children, especially the class spelling champion, Kathleen.

She is at that awkward stage and I was so glad to see him give her a ride on the handlebars of his bicycle. She talked about it for days.

Your grandson is an excellent reader and I so delight in hearing him, that I have turned over the Friday afternoon story time to him. I do find his attachment to the lectern a little odd. But do not be alarmed; 11-year-olds quickly outgrow these quirks.

He reads so well and smoothly, although when the other children ask him questions about the story afterward, he stammers a lot. That is when I take over. I do not like to see a child who otherwise is so confident and full of energy turn into a deer caught in the headlights.

While the girls all seem to like him, a few of the boys dislike him. They don’t bully him, of course, and he does stick up for himself. And he has tried to win them over. The other day at lunchtime, I overheard him say to one group of boys about another lad “you can’t just listen to him and get things done.”

His math skills seem to be slightly deficient. The other day, in preparation for the standardized test, I asked the students the usual “Train Leaving Chicago” question. He said the answer was to bail out both railroads.

When I told him this was far from the correct answer, he said that this was a problem left over from George, who was a student who transferred to Texas during the semester break when your grandson transferred in.

He refused to say another word until I brought the lectern to his desk. After that he seemed happy. I decided that he does better with the lectern, so that explains why it now sits next to his desk.

He calls it LOTUS.

Must be some sort of family joke that I don’t get.

Having spent the last five years overseas, he is a little unfamiliar with American history and geography. Please explain to him that there are 50 states, not 57. I cannot seem to get through to him.

The coach said he is a fine addition to the basketball team. The only drawback is he cannot seem to understand that when he makes a basket, it counts the same as a basket made by anyone else.

I am not so sure that he is quite as aware as he should be about American culture. The other day, our sixth-grade team traveled to another school to play its rival. He quickly became popular with the members of the other team by apologizing for our team’s past victories.

Then he did not seem to understand why they elbowed him and pushed him around during the game anyway.

We absorbed our worst drubbing in years.

For some reason, he has become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan this spring.

Except for these small things, your grandson is adjusting well and he is an excellent student who makes friends quite easily.

P.S. The cafeteria lady would like to have a word with you. It seems your grandson insists on buying everyone’s lunch and the bill is getting quite high. I’m sure you are good for the money.

from the blog Don Surber
April 11, 2009

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