This morning I had Naomi alone for Study Aid class because Kaitlyn was out sick. It was the first time I’d had a one-on-one conversation with her. I had planned on giving her some math calculation probes so I could get a better idea of her abilities in math. I showed her the paper and my timer and told her I wanted to see how many of the problems she could answer correctly in three minutes. I emphasized it was important that she do her best, but that it wasn’t really a test that she should worry about. I then asked if she had any questions before we began. She did.
“Do you have any babies?” Naomi asked. My last “baby” is 20 years old, so a goofy part of me felt flattered.
“Yes, Naomi. I have three boys.”
“Are any of them named Naomi?” she asked.
I wasn’t quite sure if she was serious, but she was totally focused on me, waiting for my answer. “No. Naomi is a girl’s name. I only have boys.”
“Oh,” was all she said, staring back as she processed this information. She didn’t ask any more questions and began doing her math paper. I wondered how she had gotten to the sixth grade not knowing that Naomi was just a girl’s name.
Later that afternoon in the general education English class, the students had 20 minutes of class time when they were supposed to be reading the rest of their story silently. I took Naomi and another student to the Resource Room so I could hear them read out loud. As we were settling in, Naomi announced loudly, “I have a question.”
“What’s that, Naomi?”
“How long have you been teaching?”
I wondered where this came from. It was a new way to avoid reading. “Fifteen years,” I said.
Naomi stared back and began to grin. “No. Really. How long have you been teaching?”
“Fifteen years,” I said again.
Naomi narrowed her eyes, puzzling over this information. “So. . .you started when you were twenty?”
I worked hard to keep from smiling. I like to think I’ve kept my looks up, but come on . . .35? I thought I’d have some fun. “No,” I said, “I started when I was . . . 25.”
Naomi stared long and hard at me. She was doing the calculation in her head. Finally, “Oh.” She had calculated my age.
I just knocked ten years off my age and she still bought it.