Rodriguez: About time to do the 'Dab'
I spotted the yellow sticky note on my laptop. In pencil was scribbled, “It’s all ight!”
I looked up. There was Roy nodding his head. That was his hip way of telling me everything was all right.
I smiled. In fact, I told him to remind me to smile often. I wrote a mental note to myself to post a giant smiley face on the front wall of my classroom.
I was having a frustrating day and Roy, that student who likes to ask me a thousand questions, was well aware. He started to ask a thousand and one questions, but lately, I’ve been indulging him with extended answers. That made him happy. I was starting to win him over.
A few days later I realized that all the times during our class lessons I thought he wasn’t listening, he was listening well.
On the feast of Epiphany in January, I gave students a mini-lesson on the meanings of Epiphany, the event (known as Three Kings Day) and the dictionary meaning of epiphany. A few days later, I rushed into my classroom as the tardy bell rang. I was running late from lunch. I sat down and then Roy leans over and asks, “Hey, Miss? Did you have an epiphany?”
I laughed out loud.
A few weeks later, I was going over problems with Roy that he was struggling with on a reading quiz. It was an excerpt from Julia Alvarez’s novel, “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent.” The question asked students to interpret what “With patience and calm, even a burro can climb a palm” meant. I explained to him why the best multiple choice answer was, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
A few weeks later, I was scolding Roy for talking a lot in class. I teach at an alternative high school.
“Don’t you want to finish this class?” I asked. “You were supposed to finish it in December.”
Roy then turns around and quips, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
I shook my head, but had to laugh.
Then he turns around again and asks, “Hey, Miss? When I finish this class, will you ‘Dab’ for the whole class?”
All of the other students chimed in, “Yeah, we want you to ‘Dab.’
I did a Google search to reassure myself that this new dance craze didn’t have a subliminal meaning or anything to do with the other term “to dab” which involves marijuana. ‘The Dab’ is a silly dance where you lower your head into your arm as if sneezing.
“That’s an elbow cough,” I said. “That’s what they told my grandson, Giovanni, to do when he coughed at preschool.”
“That’s ‘The Dab,’” they insisted.
I was like, “Well, okay. Maybe I’ll ‘Dab’…”
They took that as a yes.
Helena Rodriguez is a Portales native. Contact her at: