It was consistently hectic in the mornings as hundreds of first and second grade children would walk down our hallway each trying to get to their classroom first. Shoving, pushing, running, these were all part of the daily humdrum.
I would stand at my door each morning to greet my students (and also to help the 6 year old rush hour traffic which was not that different than highway 820 during construction, including both honking and hand gestures).
Ahhh, there she is. I see Jessica, this pint-sized little diva, who was secretly one of my “favorites”. She sashayed out of the cafeteria and was headed down to our class, ready to take on the world. Jessica was lively, but obedient and sometimes, situationally sweet.
She also had a particular way with words. Let me illustrate. One day I overheard a few of the girls talking about “Hannah Montana”…Jessica was, of course, in on the conversation and decided to add her 2-cents by saying, “Well girls, I hate to tell you but Hannah Montana is a hoochie!” Disheartened chaos ensued, “Miss Osborne, what’s a hoochie and why is she calling Hannah Montana that?” “AAAAAA! Ask your mom. She can tell you. Let’s start science.”
This particular day Jessica was almost to my classroom door when I heard her little feminine screech high above 60+ students in the hallway.
Yes, exactly. Immediately, I began rifling through the hallway trying to pinpoint her in the crowd. I can't find her! There are so many kids in here! Why don't we have less kids in this stinking school? Admitting that I was becoming a wee bit nervous might be an understatement. Thirty seconds later I heard it again, “Heeeey whore!” Beads of sweat began to drip from my forehead originated from sheer panic. My heart felt like a hammer and I was envisioning myself breathing in and out of a paper bag for the rest of the day. Where was she??? All the 'best practices' had vanished and I began barreling through children knocking them out one by one when I again heard the roar of those horrifically gruesome words.
Oh. My. Word.
Where are you God? Can a teacher get a little help down here?! Better yet, just take me up in a fiery chariot. I'm pretty sure I'm losing my job today.
God must have heard me because I finally found her. I bent down breathless and panting and said, “Jessica, my goodness Honey, who in the whole mighty world are you talking to like that? We don’t use that kind of language at school.”
She looked at me as if I was the fool and said reassuringly, “Miss Osborne, don't worry. That is his name.” Then it dawned on me, “Oh dear goodness, I’m going to have to somehow explain to this precious little thing that ‘whore’ is not a name we use at school. Insert final panic and hallucinations of furious parents and maybe even a law suit or two.
At my wit’s end, I asked her to point this child out so she could at least say, “I am sorry I was shamelessly yelling such appalling words at you this morning.”
Jessica stood there, chin still high, chest still out. Her posture said nothing of humility. She pointed to this small-ish, lanky, brown headed boy.
I took one good, long look at him. The laughter that followed was one filled with hysteria (and huge, huge, huge relief).
I looked at proud Jessica and said, “Oh my, little miss, look at me. This is very, very important for you to remember. His name is… Jorge.” (Hor-hay, NOT hay-hor)
Needless to say, Jessica made my year fun and wildly entertaining. I sure miss her.