| School Daze |

School Daze: Sixth Grade   

Mrs. Taub looked at me. “I think I’ve gotten to know you this year. I think you can do better than this — much better”


As told to Perel Stone

Tuesday, January 24


hen Mrs. Taub takes attendance, she always asks if you did your homework when she calls your name. When she calls my name and asks if I did my homework, she marks an x in her attendance book, almost before I answer, because I always say no. (In case you’re wondering why I don’t just lie and say I did it: 1. I wouldn’t lie 2. Even if I would lie, it wouldn’t help, because then Mrs. Taub asks you a question from the homework.) But even though I don’t do my homework, I still don’t talk in class.

After Mrs. Taub took attendance, and reviewed our homework from yesterday, she passed out what looked like giant checks, like the same checks my mother has in her checkbook.

She told us to leave the “pay to” line blank. On the line for the amount, instead of writing an amount of money, we should think of something nice we would want to give one of our classmates, and we should sign our name on the signature line.

Chana wrote “a chocolate bar” on the line and Avigail wrote “yogurt with granola.” Ruti wrote “a poem especially for you” on her line. I tried to think of something to write on my check, but how can I think of something if I don’t know who’s getting my check? Not everyone likes chocolate or yogurt and granola. (If you’re wondering who doesn’t like chocolate, I don’t. Everyone seems to think that’s really strange, but I can’t help it. I tried to like chocolate, and I just don’t. It’s so sweet, it hurts my throat.)

I decided that without knowing who was getting my check, I couldn’t be specific. I wrote “something that will make you happy” on the line and signed my name.

Mrs. Taub collected the checks and taught like regular. A few minutes before the bell, she passed around a bucket for us each to pull out one of the checks.

Guess who pulled out my check?! Mrs. Taub! I didn’t even know she was going to play! I went up to her desk on my way out of the room and asked her what would make her happy.

“Let me think about it,” she said.

Wednesday, February  1

Today we got our first semester report cards. Mrs. Taub sits with each girl by herself when she gives her her report card. Before she gave me mine, she asked me how I thought I did.

“Terrible,” I said. My report card is always terrible. Even though Mrs. Taub never had to send me out for talking in class, I never study for tests or do my homework. And I do talk during other teacher’s classes.

She set it on the desk between us. My grades were okay. I’m smart enough that even if I don’t study or do my homework, I don’t do that badly.

My conduct grades were a little worse. For homework and class participation I’d gotten “satisfactory,” which is a way of saying “not quite good enough.”

Mrs. Taub looked at me. “I think I’ve gotten to know you this year. I think you can do better than this — much better. I think you could be the best in the class. What do you think?”

At that moment, all I wanted was to make her right — make her right that I could do much better.

“I promise you my next report card is going to be better,” I said, looking straight at her.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 920)

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