I know…I know…the words “Clemson” and “reading” placed next to each other is an oxymoron…but this isn’t a misprint. And Chris…I knew you would need to be out of the country serving in a war zone for anything in our family to be associated with Clemson, but it isn’t a bad dream…Tucker is really attending a Clemson Reading Camp.
Tucker and Clemson actually have a long history. While we were living in NC, Tuck attended a preschool where his teacher was a Clemson graduate. To tease us as Gamecocks, the first color she taught Tucker was of course, ORANGE. It sounds harmless enough, but we endured about 2 years where every time you would ask Tuck, “What color is ________” his stock answer was ALWAYS…you guessed it, “orange.” It absolutely drove Chris crazy, but Tuck thought orange was the most beautiful color ever created.
Fast forward a few years and now… Tuck is attending a Clemson Reading Camp.
I thought it would be great for our “reluctant academic” to get a jump-start on school and have a little phonics refresher in the form of a camp. The only option for something along those lines, just happened to be offered by Clemson University. I guess they are experienced in remedial teaching techniques (sorry, that one was for Chris!)
Tuck was thrilled to learn that he would be going straight from preschool into college (or at least that was his interpretation). I was thankful to have someone else take a shot at teaching Tuck. It was a win, win situation.
Or so I thought…
The first day of class, Tuck and I arrived early. I had packed his book bag with “fresh” magic markers, a new notebook and sharpened pencils. As a former teacher, I love buying new school supplies. It’s a rush of sorts. It also must be genetic because Tuck opened his new notebook and immediately sniffed the page (anybody else love the smell of fresh paper…or am I alone here?!?). School/Art supplies are something Tuck and I completely connect with and LOVE. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Mom, you even bought me new markers!!!”… We were off to a good start in terms of supplies. The class was another story.
The teacher walked in and immediately began singing and rhyming. Tuck looked up from his drawing with an annoyed expression. Apparently, her “noise” had interrupted his artistic flow and vision…. I began to worry.
The teacher started a rhyming game. The goal was to say as many words that rhyme with the word, “bat.” All of the other kids started raising their hands and offered other words like….cat, hat, sat, mat, etc… I was excited because without prompting, Tucker raised his hand. I held my breath when she finally called on him. Tuck gave her his most serious look and said…..”owl”
Obviously the teacher was as confused as I was based on her facial expression. Tuck picked up on it and offered an explanation, “It flies at night”
I’m not sure if the teacher got it. Tuck thought she hadn’t….so he gave another example, “possum”
Yes, that’s right….while the other kids were rhyming words with “bat”… Tucker was classifying nocturnal animals.
I have a feeling this is a taste of what our next school year will be like. Help me, Jesus!
In all seriousness, please pray for Tucker and his new teacher. We really need someone who will appreciate his “unique take” on life and learning. He’s one of a kind and if he doesn’t learn to read soon…he may be going to Clemson for real!
Just kidding, Clemson friends…I couldn’t resist (it was another one for Chris!!)