Mr. Daniels Quotes in Fish in a Tree
Mr. Daniels gives Oliver a thumbs-up, and I think how cool it is that they have the ear-pulling signal. That way he doesn't always have to tell Oliver that he's doing something wrong in front of everyone. I know what that feels like and I'm happy that Mr. Daniels cares so much. Most teachers seem to like their students to be all the same—perfect and quiet. Mr. Daniels actually seems to like that we're different.
But now, on top of all those other big wishes that I carry around, I have one more. I want to impress Mr. Daniels. With every tiny little piece of myself, I just want him to like me.
The next morning, I am trying to decide if I should turn in my paper, knowing Mr. Daniels will probably think I spit it out in two minutes. The truth is that it cost me my whole night and a headache that was so bad, it reminded me of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland always yelling, “Off with her head!” Just because I thought that would be a relief.
“Do you know what it means to think out of the box?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“It means that you are a creative thinker. You think differently than other people.”
Great. Just once, I want to be told I'm like everyone else.
“It's a good thing to be an out-of-the-box thinker. People like that are world-changers.”
“You are smart, Ally. And you are going to learn to read.”
A chill runs through my whole body. I don't have any choice but to believe him, because I can't go another day thinking things will be like this forever.
I walk over to the garbage and drop it in. Watch it twist and spin as it falls. I look up and lock eyes with him and wish I had the words to tell him how grateful I am for his helping me. In this world of words, sometimes they just can't say everything.
And I think of words. The power they have. How they can be waved around like a wand—sometimes for good, like how Mr. Daniels uses them. How he makes kids like me and Oliver feel better about ourselves. And how words can also be used for bad. To hurt.
Normally, I'd be giving him all kinds of reasons I can't do this. But the thing is, Mr. Daniels could hand me a book as heavy as a boulder and I'd try to read it.
Just because he asked me to.
And looking around the room, I remember thinking that my reading differences were like dragging a concrete block around every day, and how I felt sorry for myself. Now I realize that everyone has their own blocks to drag around. And they all feel heavy.