Thursday, February 16, 2012

Why Would You Say Such a Thing?

I have always loved my quirky students the most. Most first graders have a mind of their own, anyway, but the bold, brazen ones hold a special place in my heart.

I love the grand announcements they make. Some of them are so good at this, that you can almost hear the fanfare of a full orchestra building behind them. One of my favorites was from a class long ago from a girl I'll call Scout, because she had the spunkiness of Scout Finch.

"I'm getting a new sister," Scout announced.

She was an only child, and this was definitely exciting news. The class started to gather around her.

"We're adopting her," she went on.

"That's wonderful!" I said. "Is she a baby, or is she an older child?"

She looked thoughtful, as if she was searching for the right answer. "She's two. Her parents were in a car accident."

At this point, I was trying to keep the tears from coming, and there was a blanket of hush over the crowd. Scout truly had the floor.

"How sad!" I said. "Did you know her family?"

She nodded. "They were our friends."

I searched for the right thing to say. "Well, she's so lucky to have you."

She smiled, definitely pleased with how her announcement had been received.

Her mother came by to pick her up for an appointment that afternoon.

"Congratulations!" I said.

Scout's mother had a puzzled look on her face, as she stooped to tie her shoe.

"On your adoption!" I said.

More puzzled looks. "We're not adopting ..." Her voice trailed off, as she slowly turned toward Scout.

Scout's focus was on the nearest escape route. She shot me a "thanks-for-snitching" look.

Her mother's voice boomed through the open window as they headed out to their appointment. "Why would you say such a thing?!"

But I knew why. Scout had her audience. She got to provide the details she wanted to create the story she wanted them to hear.

She was a born fiction writer.


Marcia said...

Oh, I hope that girl does grow up to write! Reminds me of the time a childhood friend told me she'd had an older brother, but he died: He fell in a well. I think I believed her for about two years.

Annie said...

Me, too, Marcia! And I love the well story. Sometimes the more outlandish the story, the more we tend to believe them!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Oh, that's funny. I have a cousin that once told a teacher her mommy was having a baby. (She wasn't.) My aunt's mother-in-law worked at the school and found out about it and called my aunt, quite mad that that was how she found out!

Linda B said...

When I first taught, one of my students made up stories about many siblings; I knew about them all! So when I commented about such a big family & how did she do it all to the mother, she looked blank, & I realized as a teacher that I should check the facts first, believe second. The young student was an only child. You wrote your story so well, leading us down that story path the student walked. I really thought it was true, too! Thanks!

Bethany said...

Remind me of a little boy who had his teacher praying for his mom who was in the hospital with cancer lol