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Something That Isn’t Quite Sense Maria is very cute.

Small and athletic, she’s got a symmetrical,

heart-shaped face, olive skin, and coal black eyes. Her hair is black, too, and long.

She’s good at math and writing, and gets along well

with most of her teachers. The other students like her. Sometimes, Maria falls into a gloomy mood. It isn’t often – once a month, maybe – but on these days she is inconsolable. She cries in the bathroom. Avoids meeting your gaze. Numbers chase each other across her paper instead of settling into the equations she’s supposed to solve. Words dance around the page, making something that isn’t quite sense. Maria was gloomy yesterday. Today, her friends carry her from her last class back to her homeroom. Her science teacher notices that something is wrong. Maria can’t stand up. She is making strange noises, stumbling, incoherent. “Maria,” says the teacher. “Are you…drunk?” Maria is thirteen. Her unfocused eyes settle on her teacher. She wrenches free of her friends’ grasp, and falls into the lockers, dropping her books, her backpack, and her water bottle. She hits the lockers, giggling. Her friends rush toward her again, trying to maneuver her upright. The teacher picks up the bottle, unscrews the cap and sniffs. Everclear. Straight. She is drunk. Very drunk. Kids and papers and books swirl around the science teacher, as he stands next to her, trying to figure out what to do.

Teaching Stories  

Tara Sumrall, a 2007 Teach for America alumna, remembers teaching middle school Language Arts on the Rosebud Indian Reservation from 2007-20...

Teaching Stories  

Tara Sumrall, a 2007 Teach for America alumna, remembers teaching middle school Language Arts on the Rosebud Indian Reservation from 2007-20...

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