RHL School

Reading Comprehension
Volume 3, Number 32, May 18, 1998


Charlton Moves On

. . . Miss Joan was in a very good mood as she entered the teachers’ lounge. She placed her tray between Mrs. Plant and Mr. El. “Just think, only four more weeks of school!” she said happily.
. . . “Must be Charlton’s acting up again,” Mrs. Plant noted.
. . . “Please, let’s not tamper with my good mood,” Miss Joan replied. “Umm, this cheeseburger smells good.”
. . . Mr. El tossed a french fry high into the air and caught it with his teeth. “Haven’t you taught that child any manners yet?” he asked. “Maybe I should discuss manners with him.”
. . . Miss Joan lifted a french fry with her fork and took a small bite. “I think not,” she stated calmly, after being sure she had swallowed the morsel. “It’s not that he’s a bad kid, he’s just an expert at annoying everyone. And cooperation is not in his vocabulary.”
. . . “I think he just wants your attention,” Mr. El suggested.
. . . “I’m sure of it,” Mrs. Plant agreed. “That poor kid’s been shifted from foster home to foster home for most of his life.”
. . . “Maybe that’s part of it,” Miss Joan conceded. “As a matter of fact, I have to cut lunch short today so that I can meet with the little darling.”
. . . “What did he do this time?” Mr. El asked.
. . . “He pulled little Jenna’s pig-tails and then claimed he was just practicing shoe tying.”
. . . “That was a clever excuse,” Mrs. Plant laughed.
. . . Miss Joan sighed. “Unfortunately, Jenna wasn’t favorably impressed.”
. . . “Well, Miss Joan, only four more weeks,” Mr. El said, “and the pressure’s off.”
. . . That’s right,” Miss Joan smiled broadly, “In four weeks Charlton moves on and my blood pressure moves back down.” She picked up her tray and started toward the door. “It’s time to have a very serious talk with the young man.”
. . . Miss Joan entered the cafeteria and immediately noticed Charlton standing by his chair. She signaled for him to leave his table and join her. He was more subdued than usual as they walked toward their classroom.
. . . “Are you going to call my foster parents?” he asked.
. . . “Do you think I should?”
. . . “It won’t make any difference,” Charlton said quietly. This wasn’t his usual defiant tone.
. . . Miss Joan stopped and looked at Charlton. “And why not?”
. . . “They’re getting rid of me. My mother, I mean foster mother, says it just isn’t working out.”
. . . Already sure of the answer, Miss Joan asked, “Have you done anything to make her feel that way?”
. . . “Maybe.”
. . . Miss Joan looked at the door that led out to the playground. It was a warm and sunny spring afternoon. The playground seemed much more inviting than their current destination. “Why don’t we go outside and talk?”
. . . They walked to the swings. “We might as well make ourselves comfortable on these swings while we talk,” Miss Joan said.

To be continued.

For discussion:

1. Does Charlton remind you of any one you know?

2. How would you deal with Charlton if you were his teacher?

Copyright 1998 RHL

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