Dylan, my 5th grade student, compliments me a lot. He thinks I’m smart, nice, caring, fair, and nonjudgemental. He also thinks I’m fun, chill, cool, and fashionable (he absolutely loves my style and the different sneakers I wear). I smile, or maybe I laugh, and I thank him for his kindness. The other day, he added another compliment, rather randomly, just as I was about to begin a new math lesson.
“Mrs. Romero, you have a great nose,” he said, so matter-of-factly, so no-big-deal. Inside, deep within myself, I laughed. I cracked up. But I held myself. Maintained control.
“My mom told me the same thing,” I commented, matching Dylan’s matter-of-fact demeanor and his no-big-deal attitude. Behind Dylan, I heard Samantha laugh.
“Just like your mom told you,” she said, in a way as if wondering whether I was kidding or not.
“Yep,” I chortled. “Just like my mom told me.” I looked her way and smiled.
Dylan looked back and forth, from me to Samantha and then back to me again. He stared at me, dead in the eye, as if I didn’t understand how truly important his comment was.
“Seriously. Mrs. Romero, you have a great nose!” Samantha and I looked at each other once more and busted out laughing.