Mrs. Navis stands behind her desk regretting her decision to have the children take turns telling about their spring break. Her eyes scan the room for Vinnie. Vinnie sits in the third row, three seats back from the front. She sees him hunched over on his desk busily doing something. She takes this as a good sign, Vinnie’s mind is already off to something new.
Mrs. Navis says, “Children, we’ll start with the first row and work our way over to the window.”
Mrs. Navis is quietly pleased with herself. Vincent won’t complain about being last. Mary will be the first one and she’ll set a good example. And, since Vincent is in the middle, she can hurry him along because everyone will need a chance.
A voice from the middle of the classroom interrupts Mrs. Navis self congratulatory thoughts, “Mrs. Navis. Mrs. Navis. Mrs. Navis.”
Mrs. Navis doesn’t have to look up, the wave length, the pitch, and urgency of the voice can only belong to one human being, “Yes, Vincent?”
“Why can’t we start with the third row? We can go third row, fifth row, fourth row, second row, and first row. Change is good, right, Mrs. Navis?”
Mrs. Navis takes a deep breath trying to remember she learned about handling difficult children at the last professional development day. She says, “It’s too confusing, Vincent. We’ll go in order. Everyone will know when it’s their turn.”
“Mrs. Navis. Mrs. Navis. I’ve got it covered. Look,” Vinnie holds up a sheet of paper with the number 3 on it. “I’ve got four other sheets each with the number of the row. No one will be confused. It’s really a good idea, right, Mrs. Navis?”
Mrs. Navis sees the class starting to enjoy Vinnie’s bantering with her. She knows if she disagrees, Vinnie will come back at her and the class will start laughing. The whole exercise will be over. She sees Sara in the front seat. She says, “Sara, are you ready to tell us about your spring break?”
“Yes, Mrs. Navis. My family and I went to Washington D.C. I can tell all about it and I took a lot of photos and I can show them on my iPad to the class.”
Mrs. Navis smiles, “Class, we’ll go in the order Vincent suggested. Vincent will hold up the sign for each row when it is that row’s turn. Are you ready to do this, Vincent? Vincent?”
“Oh. I’m on it, Mrs. Navis.”
Sara Wallers stands up at her desk. She carries her iPad to Mrs. Navis’s desk, sits the iPad down on Mrs. Navis’s desk and turns around to face the class. Sara begins, “My family and I had the best vacation …”
“No, you didn’t. I think my vacation was better than yours …”
Before Vinnie can finish, Mrs. Navis interrupts, “Vincent, no interrupting. Sara was only using a common expression meaning the family enjoyed themselves.”
“Oh, no, Mrs. Navis. I’m sure no one else here went to Washington, D.C. We even saw the White House,” says Sara.
“Tommy lives in a white house, too,” says Vinnie.
“Please, Vincent. Let Sara finish.”
“Okay, Mrs. Navis, but it’s already boring,” says Vinnie. He smiles as the class laughs.
“Class, enough! No laughing. You don’t want anyone to laugh at you when you come to the front of the class, do you?”
“I do, Mrs. Navis,” says Vinnie. The room fills with laughter.
Mrs. Navis turns red. Her voices takes on the tone of a judge issuing the death sentence to a drug dealer convicted of murder, “Vincent, to the office. Now.”
“Can I still have my turn when I come back, Mrs. Navis?”
The class laughs.
Vinnie walks to the door, Mrs. Navis’s eyes follow him. Vinnie stops at the door and turns around, “Could we do this in the afternoon, Mrs. Navis. I don’t mind missing math?”
“To the office, Vincent