It's Friday afternoon and the bell has rung. All of the children are running off to catch buses or hop into waiting cars. I stop W. as he runs out the door of the classroom.
I say, "Hey, you are missing 8 assignments in Social Studies, 7 in Science and 4 in Math, and I don't even have the heart to check on how much you are missing in Language Arts. You have to work on some of these assignments this weekend. I'm not kidding. I'm serious. You really have to complete some of this work. I'm really, really serious."
He looks up at me through a perpetual fringe of bangs and says, "If there are aliens, why don't we know about them?"
I look at him, blink slowly once or twice, and reply, "We? You mean, like you and me. Us?"
He smiles broadly and says, "No, scientists. If there are aliens, why don't scientists know about them?"
I slump against the wall and reply, "I don't know."
He smiles at me and runs off to catch the bus.