At the thought of this, she was flooded with gratitude and a terrible pang of joy ran through her. “Oh thank you Jesus, Jesus thank you!” she cried aloud.
The book struck her directly over her left eye.
—“Revelation,” by Flannery O’Connor
You’d think ten kids taking a semester final exam would be a period of about an hour and half of tranquility … lightly punctuated by the sounds of freshly sharpened pencils scratching out correct answers.
I don’t know what I was thinking. I was asked a few minutes into it if any questions were optional. I was asked for the millionth time if the extra credit counts against their score.
I replied that it doesn’t count against your score and that’s my final answer every time you’ve asked that question this semester. About one and a half million times.
Johnny comes in. Without a pencil. I hand him one without huffing. I’m not huffing anymore. I’m finally convinced that huffing has never, and will not ever in the future, work not one bit as a behavioral modification technique with eighth graders or anybody else for that matter.
Earlier, when I walked around The Cozy Room of Learning, passing out the exams, I had decided to say something inspiring, but different to each one. It’s not easy to think of ten witty and inspiring things … Enjoy … Good luck … You da man … Over before you know it … Fight the power … Don’t puke … How are ya … My gift to you … Take your time … Love what you’re doing with your hair.
Not one of them giggled.
I giggled. For quite a while. Like a lunatic.
The telephone rings. I pick it up. No one’s there.
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