Laurie's Reformation

October 4, 2008
The third week of kindergarten was almost over. Ms. Angie got out of her black Volvo and signed. Since the first day of school, she had a problem with a bad behaved boy named Laurie. A small part of her mind wondered what kind of stunt he would pull today. She hoped he was out of stunts by now. She walked into the empty classroom, sat in her chair, and watched as her students filed in the door one by one. Laurie was exactly the seventh one to get into the classroom. It was the lucky number. Even as she thought that, she braced herself for whatever Laurie was planning. Nothing happened. When the last of the students sat down, Ms. Angie got up and walked to the pile of coloring books and the basket full of crayons.

“Okay, class,” she called as she clapped her hands twice. “Today, we are going to color. Who wants to pass out the books?” Her usual helper, Helen, shot her hand up into the air. “Okay, Helen. Here you go,” she handed a small stack of books to the little girl when she walked up to her. “Who wants to pass out the crayons?”

“I want to,” Laurie yelled. He didn’t raise his hand. He just yelled.

“Okay, Laurie, come on up,” Ms. Angie cautiously waved her hand forward. She braced herself for whatever the little clown was planning. Again, nothing happened. Laurie just took the crayons and gave them around. She was pleasantly surprised.
The kids colored for a while, until the snack bell rung. Everyone was supposed to wait for their teacher to tell them to line up, but they just ran out the door into the hallways, chattering, and heading for the cafeteria. Ms. Angie signed and slowly got up and walked toward the door, until she noticed a boy still sitting in his seat. Surprisingly, it was Laurie.
“I’m going to pick stuff up,” he mumbled quietly at her bewildered expression. He got up and started picking up the coloring books and the crayons the other kids had dropped on the ground. All she could do was stand there at the door and stare at him.
“Thank you very much, Laurie,” she was very thankful. Whatever happened to make Laurie change, she was very grateful for it.
“No problem,” he whispered to her black heels. “Can I go eat snacks now?” He looked up with an expression that can only be described as smug.
“Of course you can, Laurie,” he was very polite now too. “Go right ahead,” I smiled as I stepped aside to let him pass me. He didn’t even run in the hallways like other kids. He walked quietly toward the cafeteria.
The final bell rang, indicating the end of school for kindergarteners. As the kids ran out chattering to each other, Ms. Angie waved Laurie forward.
“What?” Laurie snapped at her. She guessed he was back to his bad behaved self now.
“You were a very good helper today. I really appreciate it,” she smiled her warmest smile at him. His hard and mischievous mask seemed to melt a little.
“Well, you’re welcome,” he sounded very unsure. He seemed to enjoy her compliment though.
“I have something for you. It’s just a little gift for helping me today,” she reached into her bag, took out a pear, and offered it to Laurie.
“I hate pears,” he was frowning. Was he expecting something more? Ms. Angie shrugged and put the pear back into her bag. She liked pears anyways. She reached into a different bag and pulled out an apple.
“How’s this?” She held the apple out to him. He seemed to consider the possibilities. His little eyes darted from the apple in her hands to her face, and then back again. He seemed to accept her offer.
“An apple’s okay, I guess,” he took the apple out of her hand, wiped it on his shirt, and bit through it. “Thanks, bye, teach,” he called behind his back as he started walking away. That wasn’t the most polite thing to do, but all things considered, she decided to take it.
“Bye, Laurie, have a nice rest of the day,” she addressed the back of his shirt. He was out of the door before she had finished talking. For Ms. Jennifer Samantha Angie, today had been the hardest and the easiest day of her kindergarten teaching career.

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