I'd said hi to Z this morning and saw him on my way to lunch. "See you after lunch?" "Think about it." "I hope that's a yes."
My classes are small overall. (Student load is not something that I should complain about.) But it's really when I'm one-on-one with students that real conversations take place. They're high schoolers. They've gotta act cool the rest of the time.
Z's class started off with three students, but with one student transfers and another one in trouble, Z's been the only one in his class for a while. That time has really allowed us to connect bit by bit. He knows that I'll give him a break at the end of class if I see that he's done the work and understands the material. Today he was complaining about having been up all last night. I was impressed with how well he did on his review. Even after his extended absence, he remembered the concepts we went over when he was last present.
He was nodding off. There wasn't time left in class to want to teach new material, so I gave him space to work on one last problem, take a break, chill, whatever.
I went back to my desk; he started putting stuff up. And then he started talking. I don't know what he did while he wasn't in school, but I was astounded by how personal our conversation became. I'm not sure what I did to deserve his trust, but the more I know about him the more I want to keep encouraging him.