Caught Ya!

Natalia Marquez wants to do well in school, but math is just too hard. During a quiz on decimals and fractions, she is accused of cheating.
Natalia struggles through a hard quiz and is suprised by Mrs. Nardowski’s accusations.

I hate decimal points and I hate fractions. I don’t care what Mrs. Nardowski says, I am never, ever going to use them in later life. That’s why computers got invented. She says we need to know this stuff anyway, so we understand it, but if I had a calculator right now I’d be done with this stupid quiz. And I bet I’d get an A+ and my dad would buy me a whole new outfit at Wet Seal. God, I hate math.

“You’ve got five minutes more to work on this,” Mrs. Nardowski says in the loud whisper she uses during tests so she won’t bug us. Reality check: it bugs us!

Five minutes? There is no way I’m gonna be done in five minutes. I’ve still got seven problems left, and they always make the last ones harder. I look at Caroline, who sits one row over. She’s done, of course, and I’m sure she’ll get a 100, like she always does. Even her paper looks different from mine, all the numbers in neat little rows, no smudgy erasing like on my sheet. Caroline is my best friend, but sometimes I hate her she’s so perfect. I give her a pinky wave, and she pinky waves back.

What oh what is .56 x 1.02? I whisper the problem as I figure out the answer. Caroline nudges me to stop and I look up again. Even Marta, who sits on my other side and is the biggest loser in the world, is already done. I check the clock. 1:57. Three minutes left.

Mrs. Nardowski accuses Natalia of cheating.

All of a sudden, Mrs. Nardowski is standing by my desk. “I will not tolerate cheating in this class,” she says. She doesn’t use her special whisper, and the whole class hears. She marks a big zero on my paper. “I’ll be calling your parents about this.”

My heart pounds, and I feel dizzy. My dad’s gonna kill me. “Call my parents about what? I didn’t doanything!” I yell.

She snaps back, “Giving me an attitude won’t help matters,” and walks away.

I sit there, staring at a scuff mark on the desk and trying not to cry