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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018

Bryan Rickert
Belleville, Illinois, USA

Just Like Her Mom

Lil’ Quita was the most difficult student I ever taught. She was what teachers called a “social survivor." She had a low IQ but was so socially aggressive that she could dominate a classroom and destroy the learning environment. Her home life was so broken I’m not sure if it could even be called a home.

Once I was put in the dangerous position of having to break up one of her fist fights. The principal called her mother, Marquita, to let her know Lil’ Quita was being suspended for fighting. Within 15 minutes her mom was at the school screaming and hollering. Before you know it, mother and daughter were fist punching each other in the hallway. That was the fight I had to break up, not the one that got her suspended in the first place.

Because of her circumstances, other teachers let Lil’ Quita get away with murder, but not me. I held her to task and she hated me for it. I’d never been yelled at, cursed at, or abused so much by one child in all my years of teaching. I just figured she was doing the only thing that she knew how to do, so I couldn’t blame her. When Lil’ Quita graduated from the 8th grade there was a sigh of relief and even a few tears from the teachers.

Years later, as I was reading a story to the preschool class, I heard a knock on the door. Looking up I saw Lil’ Quita standing there hand in hand with the prettiest little girl I’ve ever seen. Smiling, well dressed, with the cutest neat braids. Lil’ Quita pointed to me then spoke to her daughter. “This is my favorite teacher, Mr. Rickert. You’re not going to cause him any trouble are you?” Looking me straight in the eye the little girl replied, “No Ma’am.”And you know what, with a beautiful smile like that I almost believed her.

their seeds
grow like all the others
rotten apples



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