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4th Grade State of Mind

I can’t remember a lot from when I was younger, just teeny glimpses here and there, but some things stick out. Like 4th grade.
Mrs. Melendez (a white woman who married a Latino man and spoke Spanish) was my teacher in our Catholic school in the Bronx for grade 4. I’d heard she wasn’t very warm, but I remember thinking, “She’s just never had a student like me before!” I prided myself on being THE star student of my classes and competing with myself and others every quarter for a First Honors certificate and 90+% grades on my report card. Yeah, I know, I was THAT annoying student, even to Mrs. Melendez, who was just not my fan.

But for the first time in my academic career, I wasn’t the only star. Jorge was Spanish from Spain, and he looked it compared to the rest of us in class and in our hood. When he transferred into our class, Mrs. Melendez INSTANTLY loved him, and I. Was. Baffled. “I’m smart too!” I’d think. “Other teachers loved me before too! I have the answers too!” Why didn’t she …

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