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Emily Grossman

Meet Sammy XLR8

March 3, 2009 at 10:17 AM

Speaking of speed, today Jonathan showed up for his lesson with a present for me that he made himself.  "Oh, that's so cool!" I responded.  "He looks like...  No, wait...  That's Sammy XLR8, isn't it?"  Sammy is a character from the Adventures in Violinland books.  He's a space violinist, and he teaches my students about time travel and other curious fast-fingered adventures.  What totally impresses me is, Jonathan saw the guy on the cover of a book sitting on my desk, and then went home and recreated him from memory.

I paused from our lesson and looked him in the eye.

"Jonathan, do you love the violin?"

"Yes, yes, I do!" He nodded.

"Promise me you'll always practice and never give it up."

"Yes, yes, I will!"

I continued,  "See, you posses an asset.  Do you know what 'asset' means?"

"Um, no."

"It's kinda like drawing a hand of cards and getting an ace.  Your ace is imagination.  It's just something you were given, and it's worth more than anything I could teach you, and I want to make sure you'll keep using it, okay?"

He promised, but I suppose I didn't need to mention all that.  Kids like Jonathan do what they do because they can't help it.  With a supportive family and an open door, he will take flight with the same instinct that the birds use.  It's just what he was born to do.

Next week he'll be returning with a bow for Sammy.

From Anthony Barletta
Posted on March 3, 2009 at 5:42 PM

I love this post - your dialogue with Jonathan made my eyes mist up.  What a great teacher you must be!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 7:51 AM

Thank you!

I was having difficulty viewing this blog entry and its comments, and was wondering if anyone else had this problem.

From Elizabeth Musil
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 8:14 AM

I also had trouble viewing it yesterday, but today it works no problem.

I really liked this blog, and I think your student is lucky to have you as a teacher (and you him as a student!)

Posted on March 4, 2009 at 11:00 AM

this is the joy of dealing with children. Alas, that curious spark of imagination and creativity vanishes in most along the way to adulthood. Sad.

From Rosalind Porter
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Sammy is SO COOL!!!   I think that's brilliant and well done Jonathan for making such a fantastic model!  You must be such an inspiring teacher Emily ...

From Emily Grossman
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 11:19 AM

Sam, you're right.  Let's not ever grow up, okay?

Posted on March 4, 2009 at 12:30 PM

From Tom Holzman
Posted on March 4, 2009 at 4:30 PM

He is obviously a special kid, and he is lucky to have a wonderful teacher like you with so much imagination.  Hopefully, after his studies with you, as an adult he will continue to possess that kind of imagination.  Good work!

From Drew Lecher
Posted on March 6, 2009 at 5:33 AM

I'm not going to grow up…

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on March 7, 2009 at 1:20 AM

There's part of the brain that lights up only when you encounter another living being.  Except it also lights up when you encounter a robot.  A harbinger of the future, I would say. 


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