L. had a presentation due yesterday in one of his elective classes. He doesn’t talk about schoolwork much (if at all) but he let slip mention of the upcoming presentation a few times these past two weeks--that's how I knew it was big. One time last week he asked me if he’d be in school that next Tuesday.
“Of course,” I answered.
“Great!” he said. “That’s the day of my presentation.”
We didn’t know much about the grading standards for the presentation. It’s an elective class, and all work for electives is supposed to be done at school. He’s been excited about the presentation, though, and I know this is why he wore his red and gray striped sweater on Tuesday. I have tried several times to talk to him about the content of his slideshow he prepared--on global superpowers, but he made it clear he had the topic covered.
When I picked him up after school yesterday I asked him how it had gone.
“Bad,” he said in the same non-commital, even-toned voice he uses for so much else. He's my inside-out child: disproportionately emotional and dramatic over light upsets, and even-toned and flat over the things that really matter. Yet I knew that under that flat tone he must have felt upset. I thought, not for the first time, how much easier it is to comfort a child who is visibly hurt and disappointed; you see the tears, you fix them.
His presentation had “too many words” the teacher had said, and not enough graphics. You could have done better, he said the teacher told him after class. What does that mean? Done better? How?
“It was boring,” L. told me.
“How do you know?”
“Because students did this” (here he made a loud groan) “and this” (he sighed heavily).