Mrs. Mavis’s 4th Grade Classroom . . .
Mrs. Mavis stands behind her desk. She fixes the bun in her hair, and says, “Children, I want your complete attention.” Immediately, she regrets her choice of words. One hand in the middle row waves frantically. “Yes, Vincent?”
“Is this about us doing our family oral history? Can we tell everything, even the bad stuff?” says Vinnie.
Mrs. Mavis’s blood pressure spikes. “Vincent, don’t get ahead of us. Sit still.”
Vinnie waves his hand more frantically.
“Is it okay if I’m already ahead? I want to talk to my Uncle Mike, he’s the . . .”
“We all know who your Uncle Mike is, Vincent, please be quiet,” says Mrs. Mavis.
Vinnie raises his hand again. Mrs. Mavis pretends she doesn’t see him. She says, “Kennedy Elementary School received a grant so we can all learn about our families. Each of the students will create an oral history . . .”
“Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis,” says Vinnie waving both arms.
“Vincent, this better be important. I’m trying to explain the family oral history project.”
“It’s really, really, really important, Mrs. Mavis,” says Vinnie.
Mrs. Mavis knows there will be no end to Vinnie’s questions, she says, “What is it Vincent?”
“Can I do my whole family? I mean, can I do Rupert, he’s the smartest person in the world. Can I do Dexter, he’s really smart too, but not as smart as Rupert or me.”
“There’s more of you?” says Mrs. Mavis placing a palm face down on her desk for support.
Sara raises her hand, “Rupert really is the smartest person in the world. When I get stuck on a question my parents don’t want to answer, Vinnie lets me ask Rupert.”
“Me too,” says Larry.
“Me too, says Joey.
“Children, children, you know the rules about speaking without raising your hand.”
Vinnie raises his hand.
“Yes, Vincent? This is your last question,” says Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis knows she should have said it differently.
“This isn’t a question, Mrs. Mavis, it only sounds like a question, but I’m putting a period after it in my mind instead of a question mark. Can we vote on the class rules? I have some great ideas.”
“Vincent,” stammers Mrs. Mavis.
“Are you putting me in time out or sending me to Mrs. N?” asks Vinnie.
Mrs. Mavis mind tries to calculate how long it was since she last sent Vinnie to the office. When she realizes it was only thirty minutes ago she sent Vinnie to the office, she knows she can’t send him to the office for asking questions, raising his hand, and always speaking politely. She doesn’t understand why Vinnie gets under her skin.
“Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis,” says Vinnie.
“Are you okay? Your lips were moving but we can’t hear you. That happens to my mom a lot when I’m home.