I told one of my students today that I was going to write about her in my blog. I also told her I was going to put her picture with it, but even with her permission I don't feel right doing that. Since teachers in our county can be asked to resign for posting pictures holding a glass of what is presumably wine on a summer trip to Italy, I like to be extra careful. I'm sure there's a rule somewhere against blogging about one's students.
I'll call this one Maria. She's a tiny little Hispanic girl, and she looks about 12 years old. I tell her all the time that she's one of my favorites simply because she's about the only student who is shorter than I am. And she's shorter than I am by a good few inches. This 12-year-old-look-alike has a son who will be one year old in two weeks.
A couple of weeks ago, on a Friday, Maria told me she was going to Mexico for the weekend to see her "baby daddy," but she would be back on Monday. I truly believed 100% that she would NOT be back in school on Monday, because a jaunt from Georgia to Mexico isn't a trip one usually undertakes over the span of a weekend. Yes, I know all about airplanes. Still.
Much to my surprise, Maria was there in time for school on Monday. And she had flown in just that morning and come to school straight from the airport. (Unless she made up the whole story, which I guess is possible on some level, but then why would she have done that?) I asked how her weekend was and if she saw her baby daddy. Then I asked if he ever planned to come here.
"No!" she exclaimed. "We don't want him here. We got too many Mexicans here already."
I howled with laughter. She wasn't even offended when one of my African-American students said, "Yeah, y'all are kind of taking over."
Last Friday she added to my Maria memory bank. I was eating a pretzel rod for a late-afternoon snack, and she started laughing at me. She wouldn't tell me at first why she was laughing, and I thought it was because it looked very much like I was eating a cigar.
She finally stopped laughing long enough to tell me that when she was in the third grade, she told her mother she needed some pretzels to take to school. Her mom bought her pencils.
I asked her if she ate them.
I will probably never eat another pretzel without thinking about Maria.