“Do you trust me?” Naomi asked sweetly.
“No,” I answered as I stacked the homework papers.
“You have to earn trust, Naomi. You haven’t earned trust with me.”
Naomi’s eyes widened and she stared back at me indignantly, her mouth slowly dropping open.
“You should trust me. You’re the teacher. It’s your job.”
I placed the stack of homework papers on my desk and walked back to stand in front of her.
“My job is teaching you, not trusting you.”
Naomi was in trouble. Mid-quarter progress reports had been mailed, and she had three D’s. Most of the problem was from missing or late work. Her parents had taken away her phone.
“Why don’t you trust me?” Naomi was not letting this go.
“Well, for starters,” I answered, “I don’t trust you to hand in your homework.”
“I HANDED IN MY HOMEWORK. IT’S RIGHT THERE ON YOUR DESK. I’LL SHOW YOU.” Naomi started to get out of her desk.
“You don’t have to show me. I saw that you handed in your homework today. But what about yesterday, and the day before, and last week? What about your project for Mrs. Osbourn?”
Naomi stared back at me. “That’s not fair!”
“It’s very fair.” I paused. “You have to earn trust, and that takes time.”
“Well that’s dumb!”