I see how he plays with the bottom of his shoe when I'm reading a picture book. Or if it's not his shoe, it's something else, while we're doing shared reading. I see how he barely moves his lips or completely ignores us when we count to 100 with a fun youtube brain break. I see how he tries to get a spot at the back of the group where he doesn't think I see him. I see how little effort he gives and interest he shows with most everything we do. I see how after two years of kindergarten how much he still needs every little concept I'm teaching. I see how he's surrounded by so many who seem eager to learn whether the content is easy or hard.
What I don't see is a little eager fire in his eyes. I don't feel him willingly following me on this journey. Instead it seems like I'm dragging him along. He is indeed a mystery, and yet this is nothing new. Every year I have to ask myself how to engage the one who refuses to meet me halfway. I know Routman's advice is part of the answer to this ever-present dilemma. "What matters most to this child? Start there."
Indeed, I see that he's full of greatness.