Free Sugar

I'm a teacher of reluctant readers. Reluctant readers are people who do not like to read. My job is basically to teach reluctant readers not to be reluctant readers. I'm supposed to make them like reading. My students are fourteen years old.

I have this monthly "book tea" where I give the kids tea, and we sit around and sip tea and talk about what books they have been reading. I try to distract them from the fact that they are basically doing an oral book report by giving them a novelty drink.

Today, we had our first book tea of the school year.

The first book tea, you have to teach them a bit about tea. For most of the kids, this is the first time they've ever had real tea. They like to try different types, smell them, experiment with cream and sugar. Today, all of the kids were done making their teas and pretty much ready to talk about books, except for this one, Big C. Big C was still over at the tea table- which I decorate with a lace table cloth, of course- trying to brew the perfect cup of tea. He asked me for a spoon several times. One of the other kids yelled over,

"The tea's so hot the sugar just disintegrates!" Nevertheless, Big C needed a spoon. I finally dug out my Thinkgeek titanium spork and loaned it to him.

A few minutes later, Big C was ready. We went on to talking about books. It was wonderful.

Everyone talked about a book they had recently read. Literature was discussed. Discussed, savored, argued over. A great beginning towards a love of literature! I smiled to myself, thinking of the positive energy going around the room, all about books. It was just what I wanted. Everyone talked about a book they had finished recently, one by one, sipping tea... everyone except Big C.

"I didn't finish any book. I don't wanna talk." Well, okay, I thought. Over 90% participation isn't bad. You can't force a kid to talk about books. Big C sipped his tea and whispered to the boy next to him, the one with the football book he didn't quite understand. I didn't catch what he was saying. I didn't pay it much mind.

We finished on time, the class helped me clean up, everything was cool. They left. I was putting things away.

I noticed that my sugar container was completely empty. The sugar that was supposed to last the whole school year, nine book teas, was completely empty. I looked around for a pile of sugar... and then I realized.

The reason Big C's sugar wouldn't dissolve was probably because the ration of sugar to water was way too high. What I mean is, Big C drank a whole cup of sugar. That's why it took five minutes longer for him to make a perfect cup of tea. He was making syrup!

I'm not sure how to end this... this is so typical of my experiences, every day. What can I say? Sont är livet.