A woman came into my classroom today, which I was cleaning up. The school year’s over, and my room is being moved across the hall for the next school year. I was trying carefully put everything away and clean it out so that fewer items will be lost in a move that’s less than 15 feet.
“Hi,” she said, sticking out her hand, “I’m Karen Sandoval.”
I shook it. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Sandoval. What can I do for you?”
She held out a piece of paper. “My daughter would very much like to take your class next year. But she’ll be a freshman. The principal says your class doesn’t take freshmen.”
“Actually, that depends. Which class does she want to be in?”
“Newspaper,” Mrs. Sandoval responded.
“Yes, that’s true, we restrict it to sophomores and upper grades.”
Mrs. Sandoval nodded slightly. “Right. Mr. Mehmet said I should come and talk to you and see if you’d give permission for her to be in your class. She’s a good student and said that she very much wanted to be in Ms. Marlowe’s class.”
Oh. Oh crap. Is this a student I even want in this class? What has she heard? I had a student this past year who thought that newspaper meant he could skip class regularly so he could “work on a story.” Someone told him that’s how Newspaper class works.
“What’s your daughter’s name?” Maybe this will buy me some time. Maybe I should just say no, it has to be upperclassmen.
“Yolanda Sandoval?” I don’t know her, but that doesn’t mean much.
“Her brother Melvin had your class last year, and he recommended that she try and get in.”
“Melvin Acosta? That’s your son?” Melvin is a genius, an incredible writer and funny. “He was a fantastic student.”
She smiled now, big and bright. “Yes, he’s a very hard worker. Yolanda is much like him.”
“Then yes, Mrs. Sandoval, I’d be happy to have her in my class.” She thanks me and asks if I can sign the form giving permission. I fill it out, relieved that it’s a good thing I’m dealing with, for once.
“What’s Melvin going to major in?” I ask as she gathers up her purse. He graduated as the valedictorian.
“He’s doing chemical engineering,” she says proudly.
“You must be so proud. He was a wonderful writer. I’ll miss having him.”
“Well, Yolanda wants to be a writer. Melvin said if she wants to write well, she must take Ms. Marlowe’s class.” She turned to go, and smiled at me. “So nice to meet you. Have a good day.”
I don’t think I’ve had such a good day in years.