The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School, Part 4

Ana is 7 years old, and today was class photo day.  So, in a sudden flurry of self-consciousness and existential panic, she painted her lips red with a permanent marker.

It took her 15 minutes to wash it off.

In the back, a heated conversation could be heard between another girl, clearly worried about her image as well, and a boy in the midst of a sardonic rant.

“I’m definitely not fat,” María said. “I’m robust!”

“That’s not a word!” said Alex, feeding off her growing desperation and increasing frown. “It´s definitely fat.”

Ismael ran in the room with head of black hair slicked back and so wet his entire face and shirt was soaked.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said.  His friend Anthony rushed over to help and pulled his hair to the sides, creating a terrifying rift exactly in the middle, and what looked like two tar-covered hills with a river of white glue between them.

On any given day, there is little one can do to influence the little dramas that swirl through the lives of children collected in a small area.  Sometimes the stories and comments are silly and fade away before the next recess. Other are tragic.  And they seem to express them all with equal complacency and solid matter-of-fact.  Seem to, anyway.  Sometimes there is no telling what’s really going on inside those little heads. It is rarely boring.

A few quotes and questions from the mouths of babes:


“Do you have any babies?”


“I’m from Brasil!”

Oh really? Which town?”

“I have no idea.”


“Have you been eaten by a shark?”


“I have two fathers and 5 grandmothers.”


“I can’t count how many brothers I have.”


“Teacher, you are beautiful.”


“Do you have a mother?”

“Yes, I do. She lives in the United States.”

“My mother is from Morocco and she died. And with my brother inside her estomago.”


“My father is the smartest one in Madrid.”


“Patricia’s family is all gypsies.  Too bad.”


“Teacher, I think your English is pretty good.”


“You are the best part of the day, teacher.”


“I am bored and you are stupid.  And so is she.”


“Your face is my butt.”


“Can I be your helper for the rest of the year?”


“Why don’t you have any babies?”


4 thoughts on “The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School, Part 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s