"M., would you lead us in prayer?"
She moves to the front of the room, half poise and grace, half shuffling mass, because she's an athlete and a remarkable girl but still entirely an 8th grader.
"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Any special intentions?"
J. raises his hand and I hold my breath. He is my brilliant, brilliant but very, very strange boy. He wrote a review of Toy Story 3D for free writing one day in a tone similar to what an art film critic would use to laud an indie masterpiece. In included the phrase, "Woody is a man for our times."
M. points. "Yes?"
"For our test in science class today. May God send us salvation."
Half the heads in the room turn to me for my reaction. I manage to keep a straight face and respond with my students -- though with less gusto -- "Lord, hear our prayer," not because I'm unfazed, but because when a kid begs God for salvation, but only from his science test, you're not sure whether to laugh, cry, or pick your jaw up off the ground and join in.