Our school lockers are in the hall outside the classroom. I have to leave my backpack, coat if it is cold and lunch if I bring it in my locker. We can only bring in our homework folders into class. If you bring a cell phone, Mrs. Navis will take it away and your parents have to come to school to get it back.
I walk in the classroom pretending nothing is bothering me and I am confident about the math test. Mrs. Navis is busy at her desk. I walk up to her and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Navis. You really look nice today.”
I keep my fingers crossed under my homework folder because Mrs. Navis never looks nice.
Mrs. Navis looks up at me, I think she’s cross eyed. She says, “Are you prepared for your math test, Vincent?”
How do you like that, she didn’t even say thank you for the compliment I paid her. They should teach teachers to be polite. I say, “I studied until Mom made me turn off the light.”
I don’t know why Mrs. Navis always gives me a look that says, ‘I don’t believe you.’ Okay, so I stretched the truth a little. I am trying to remember what she taught, but I think my brain is playing on a different app. I really am pretty smart.
Mrs. Navis told Mom at a parent teacher conference that I was too smart for my own good. She said things come too easy to me. Mom came home and told me to study more. When Mom told me what Mrs. Navis said, I said, “Mom, how can I be too smart?”
Bad move on my part. Mom went on and on explaining what Mrs. Navis meant. I didn’t listen to Mom. I smiled and made eye contact and kept nodding. All the while I was thinking of a skateboarding trick I was going to try. I think I might want to be an actor when I grow up.
I turned from Mrs. Navis and walked to my desk. I sit down and take out my sat at my math notebook. I review the problems we had for homework. I look at the practice sheets we did in class. I think this is what college students call cramming. By the time I get to college, I will be an expert at cramming. It makes sense. Why waste play time studying when you can cram it all in right before a test?
My cramming is interrupted by Mrs. Navis’ voice. I think she has a cold. I hope she goes home sick. No luck. She put a cough drop in her mouth and says, “Children, put away your study sheets. Get your pencils out. I’m going to pass out the math tests to you. Do not start working on them until I tell you to begin. Now, do your own work. Do not look at your neighbor’s work.”
This is where I get confused. At least three times a day, Mrs. Navis tells us how important it is to cooperate with each other, now she is telling us not to cooperate with each other. Adults don’t know what they are talking about. No wonder so many kids have problems. I looked to my right and smile at Sheila. I look to my left and see Jeffrey chewing his fingernails. Poor guy, his parents want him to go to Harvard. All he does is read and study. A fun summer for him is math camp. I wouldn’t trade families with Jeffrey for anything.
I fold my hands and smile. I’m giving Mrs. Navis the impression I’m ready for the test. Actually, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Michelle, in front of me, turns and passes me my copy of the test.
I said, “Good luck, Michelle.” She sticks her tongue out at me. I think she’s still mad at me for writing a note to her telling her she was cute. I signed the note Toby. Sheila saw me put the note on Michelle’s desk and ratted on me. I had to miss recess and write two-hundred times, I will not pass notes.
Mrs. Navis spoke, “Children you have twenty minutes for your test. When you are finished, raise your hand and I will come by and collect your test.”
I decided not to finish the test until Mrs. Navis says there is only one minute to go. If I finish too soon, she’ll correct right away. There are twenty problems. The first question is easy: What number is the same as two hundred fifty-five? A. 245 B. 255 C. 542 D. 452. The second question is even easier. Which number is made up of 6 hundreds 8 tens and 4 ones? A. 644 B. 684 C. 468 D. 846. They got tougher after that. Mrs. Navis made them all multiple guess. That made it a lot easier for me. I finished in ten minutes. I’m too smart for my own good so I decided I didn’t need to go over my test and check my answers. I turned my test over and put my pencil on top of it. I sat up with good posture. Mrs. Navis is always telling us sit up straight. I hope she tells Mom I have good posture. Good posture has to count for something.
I was thinking about climbing the big oak tree in back of the house when I hear the voice of doom, “Vincent, have you completed your test?”
I look up, “Yes, Mrs. Navis. I going to review it for the third time in just a moment. Mom is always telling Dad how important it is to clear your mind. That’s what I was trying to do.”
“You only have two minutes, Vincent. When are you going to check it?”
“I’m really, very good at math, Mrs. Navis. As soon as you walk away, I’m on it,” I say. I amaze myself how I can make this stuff up on the spot.
“Well, okay,” she says and turns around. Then she says, “One more minute.”