Mrs. Henry

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Charlie sat at his desk chewing on his pencil. He knew that he was going to fail the test. His teacher wouldn’t want to grade his anyway. The worst thing was that he actually tried for this one. It was something that he really liked to do. It was in English class and he was supposed to write any type of writing that he wanted. It was worth 100 points. That’s not it though. He liked to write, but he didn’t know how to very well because he never had a teacher that wanted to help him with it. He wasn’t the kind of kid that really paid all that much attention in class, so he had a bad reputation with the teachers.

The test was on writing any kind of paper that you wanted; it just had to be pretty good. They had three class periods to work on it and he had no idea what to write about. It was almost the end of the second class period.

See, Charlie liked to write, but he had never had any idea how to do it well. Since he had no teacher that liked him, he never had the chance to ask for help either. He decided that he was going to give it a chance, and he walked up to the teacher’s desk, but then he ran out of courage and sat back down. No, he was going to do this; he got back up and walked slowly to the teacher’s desk.

“Mrs. Henry?” Charlie said timidly.

“Yes, Charlie?” She said exasperated.

“I wanted to, umm, uh, see if maybe, uh, you could help me with my, uh, umm, essay test please.” He stuttered.

“I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, go sit down.”

“But I…” He trailed off.

“Charlie,” she said with annoyance, “Go and sit in your seat right now. Everybody else is trying to work.”

He turned and walked away. He was used to this. What was I thinking, I knew she wouldn’t come and help me anyway. Why’d I even ask?

As he went and sat down, he figured during lunch he’d come back, I mean, he really wanted to do well on this. She said she’d see what she could do; maybe she meant come back during lunch.

After lunch he decided he would go and see her, and it went something like this:

Mrs. Henry was sitting at her desk grading grammar papers. She didn’t even look up as he walked to her desk.

“What?” She snapped, a little frightened by his sudden show in her room during his free time.

“I. You.” he took a breath. “You said you’d help me with my narrative.”

“I did? Oh, I didn’t mean to.” She said.

“Oh.” He looked at the ground. “I… I… I really want help with this test.”

“Okay, why don’t you come and sit right over here.” She gestured to an empty desk in front of hers. She was curious now. Why would he want help anyway? She thought any minute he would pop out a water balloon or something and embarrass her again. But he didn’t, he just sat there.

When he sat down she showed him how to do a pre-write, and draft a narrative. He thought it was actually easier than she explained it in class; he just never paid enough attention. Shocker, she thought to that one. When she asked him why he wanted to do a narrative though, he didn’t have an answer. So he said:

“I thought it would be fun.”

“Do you have any ideas yet?”

“Well, umm …” He trailed off and looked at the ground.

“You don’t, do you?” She asked, almost giving up then and there.

He looked at the ground again. “Well, I wanted it to be, like, umm, something like a, well, a story.”

“Well that really narrows it down.” She said softly with a hint of sarcasm. “That’s what a narrative is.”

“Oh, really?”

She laughed. “Yes, it’s a story.”

“Well, then maybe I could do like, a personal experience or something like that.”

“I guess that would work, what do you have in mind?”

“Ok, well, maybe I could, umm.” He stood there in thought for a while.

“OH, I got it!” He almost yelled a couple minutes later.

That night he took his start of an essay home and did actual homework for the first time in quite a while. When his mom walked into the room she practically fainted. He was sitting at his rarely (and I mean RARELY) used desk and actually doing homework. He was ACTUALLY doing homework. His mom had a right to almost faint like she did. You could count on one hand the number of times he had done homework, or even used that desk!

“Hi mom,” He said as he worked, not even looking up from his furiously moving pencil.

“Your, your…” Now it was her turn to stutter. She quietly walked out of the room. I wonder how his teacher is bribing him to do his homework.

The next day when he walked into his English class the only thing he had left to do for his essay was the end. He had to wrap it up. It was the best essay he had ever written (not to mention the only one).

As he took his seat he looked up and saw Mrs. Henry looking at him with an almost smile. She was really happy with him. Earlier during his break he came in and they worked on it together for about ten minutes to get as much edited and revised as they could.

He sat there and didn’t even look up from the paper once the whole period. He had to get it done. His pencil was moving faster than a speeding bullet (you know, superman). About five minutes before the bell rang he went up to the top of the paper to reread his masterpiece and make sure that no mistakes were going to make him fail THIS test. Here’s how it went:

“Charlie sat at his desk chewing on his pencil. He knew that he was going to fail the test. He knew that his teacher wouldn’t want to…”





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