Last week Ricky sat in on not just one, but two of my writing workshops. The first was the Tuesday After-School Writing Club I started for fifth- and sixth-graders at Bryant Elementary School in Bridgeport. The second, the next day, was my evening memoir writing course at Trinity College in Hartford for adults who are . . . quite a bit older than the fifth and sixth graders. (I took him along because we, Ricky and I, were on our way up to Vermont for a boys-only getaway.)
You already know that Ricky is no stranger to the classroom. And while his impeccable behavior in cars — look left, look right, curl up in a ball, snore for four or five hundred miles — has been trumpeted in this blog, his classroom demeanor isn’t far behind. Last spring, by popular demand, I brought him in to the second grade class I read to at, again, Bryant School. His sole job was to trot jauntily into the classroom, be cute, and allow 25 seven-year-olds to pet him and tug at his velvety ears. And he did it perfectly, with the patience of a saint. For last Wednesday, I’d asked my fifth and sixth graders to write a story about their dog, cat, or bird. I promised to bring in a Special Guest Pet to be their listener. And let me tell you, Ricky was the man for the job, sitting at attention for 20 minutes and looking fascinated as the kids read aloud. (See photos)
Now I have to admit, his behavior with my adult students is not quite so stellar. In fact, it’s a little . . . idiosyncratic. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because he’s
not the center of attention in these classes. Maybe it’s because he thinks he already knows everything there is to know about writing. (See his Roof Rack Report from November 4.) Whatever the reason, all he does for the entire session is pad around the seminar room, his nails click-clacking on the hardwood floor, sniffing the garbage can by the door on every lap — hoping, I guess, that some used, crumpled-up tissue or gnawed-at, brown apple core that wasn’t there before has miraculously appeared.
Okay, once — just once — his persistence was rewarded: Ricky located an energy bar in a purse that Joanne, one of my students, had left on the floor under her seat. By the time we all noticed him, he’d gotten his jaws around it. I grabbed the bar, cut off the part with Ricky’s teeth marks, and offered the rest back to Joanne. Curiously, she declined my offer.
I guess some people just don’t like to share.
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