Fly on the Wall: Melinda

By: Adam Sutton

The 7th grade teachers gathered around per their weekly ritual to talk about grade level issues.  Ms. Nichols led off by asking, “How’s Melinda for people?”

“Yates?”

“Yeah.”

“She’s quiet.  Doesn’t do much,” said Mr. George.

“Quiet!” the Math Chair said, clearly surprised.  “She literally does not stop talking the entire time she is in my class.  And, she does very little work.”

“She seems pretty bright to me, but she just doesn’t turn much in.  I don’t know what she does during class, but I check in and she seems alright.  By the end of class though, I never see anything finished,” said Mr. Moynihan.


“Hi, Mrs. Yates.  This is Ms. Nichols, Melinda’s Science teacher.  We’ve talked a few times this year, but it’s getting to be the end of the 3rd quarter, and Melinda continues to struggle.  We thought maybe having you in today with Melinda here and all her teachers might be helpful to getting her on the right track.”  Ms. Nichols had only been teaching for 5 years, but she felt like a pro at laying the stark reality of a struggling student out for parents.  “We’ve got you on speaker phone, and Melinda is here, so everyone can express their concerns and ideas for helping her to be successful.  Melinda would you mind starting off and just telling us how your school year has been going?” 

Melinda looks at her hands and begins to speak, barely above a whisper, “Well.  I dunno.  I like class.  I just.  I just don’t know.  I’m not real motivated.”

“Melinda!” her mom interjects.  “You better get motivated.  Your grades are your business, but after meeting the judge last week, your attendance is mine.  I get you there.  You do the rest.  It’s not my concern, but you heard the judge.  It’s grades and attendance.  My job is attendance.  Yours is grades.”


“Hello Mrs. Yates?” Principal Martins pauses listening to the other end of the line.  “This is Mrs. Martins over at Mittensburg Middle.  Melinda was involved in an altercation.  We think it was an accident, but we aren’t sure.  She’s ok, but we think she may have broken her arm.”  She pauses again and nods a few times with the phone.  “Yes.  Her and a couple girls were horsing around in the locker room and she fell.  We have called an ambulance and are planning to have her go get an x-ray.  Can you get over here to accompany her?”  

“I’m kinda busy this afternoon.”

Principal Martins doesn’t know exactly how to respond, so she stammers, “Well.  Well.  Melinda is hurt.  I think…”

“Maybe you could call her dad?  Can’t she get an Uber from the hospital?”

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