Three years ago, I had a little spitfire that entered into my sixth-grade class, and she was a teacher’s worst nightmare. Amelia had an infectious smile that was somewhat crooked in nature, for it veered off at awkward angles. When she was about to be naughty, her eyes would gleam, and she would give that crooked little smile. It was like a beacon to those around her that Amelia was about to rock someone’s world, and not for the better. That glimmer in her eye warned others to take a step or two in the opposite direction because one never quite knew what she was going to do next.
Although this child had trouble making friends and while this child often made her other teachers cringe, I found her quite endearing. My favorite problem child loved to read, and this child had the heart of a writer. Since she was a loner, she would create delightful tales that engaged her audience. Because my student usually completed her work before the others, I would allow her to work on her writings. However, there was just one catch. She had to share her tales with her classmates. Each day, Amelia worked on her assignment, and each day during the last ten minutes of class, Amelia captivated her audience with her magical works of fiction and poetry. And each day, when her time was up, the class would beg for more.
Over the years, my child has continued to drive her teachers and her peers nuts with her antics, but I missed my unruly student. In true form, she became a frequent flyer to the dean’s office. Last year, her teachers grounded her from reading because she would hide her reading books in the texts and become engrossed in some new adventure. She would forget about the world around her, and teachers often discovered that she was reading a favorite tale, instead of completing an assignment. She would visit and complain and tell me how horrible and cruel the punishments were that they would take her beloved books from her. I would smile and shake my head and listen quietly to her woes. I loved her stories. One day, she came for a quick visit before my plan. “They took all of my books again,” she miserably wailed.
I glanced up to look at her, and there it was. The ornery gleam and crooked smile had returned. I quietly waited to discover what she had pulled this time. She rewarded my patience.
“They, meaning the enemy, searched my backpack again and took my books. But, they didn’t find this one,” She wickedly smiled, opened her jacket, and pulled out a small paperback from an inside pocket.
Today, my eighth grader made another appearance. This time she had words of wisdom that she wanted to share. Walking up to me, she lowered her voice so no one else could hear, “Beware of the masses,” she cryptically whispered, “because sometimes the “m” is silent.”
As I started laughing, my favorite problem child left, grinning from ear to ear. Then it dawned on me. My Amelia will not be coming back next year. As the end of this school year approaches, a sadness took hold. My intriguing child that has always created classroom chaos and has shared enchanted stories will leave me behind as she begins a new journey in the fall. As my girl enters high school, I long for two wishes: May she find another soul that adores her special gifts. And may, my girl, always dance to the beat of her own drum.
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