Chapter Six: Snap It was quieter than usual as Mr. Meinert walked into the chorus room on Thursday afternoon. The kids seemed a little tense, a little uncertain.Mr. Meinert liked it. It was a nice change. As a young man starting his second year of teaching, he was the one who usually felt tense and uncertain. He thought, Maybe I should explode more often.As he took attendance he avoided looking at Hart Evans. Even if he had, their eyes would not have met. Hart was also being careful not to look at Mr. Meinert. He had decided it was a good day to keep a low profile.The teacher tossed his grade book back onto his desk and said, "Let's start off today with our new Hanukkah song."A low groan rumbled through the room. Mr. Meinert ignored it. "We're going to have to work on some Hebrew words. Everyone please stand up in front of your desks."There was more grumbling as the kids stood up. Again, Mr. Meinert ignored it. "We'll start with an easy one -- I'm sure you already know it. Take a deep breath, and let me hear everyone say 'Shalom.'"The word that came back at him sounded a little like "salami."Mr. Meinert shook his head. "No. No. Listen: Sha-lom. Say it."Again the class made a sound.Again Mr. Meinert shook his head. "No. Not 'Shiloom.' Sha-lom. That's a long o sound, like 'home.' Say it clearly with me. One, two, three: Sh -- "Halfway into the first syllable Karen Baker pointed at the windows and yelped, "Look! It's snowing!"The Hebrew lesson screeched to a stop. Everyone turned to look. "Hey! Snow! Look! It is -- it's snowing!"Tim Miller shouted, "Maybe tomorrow will be a snow day!"A spontaneous cheer burst out, and the kids rushed toward the long wall of windows.The music teacher felt the anger rise up in his chest, just as it had yesterday. He wanted to scream and shake his fist at the class. But he resisted.He walked slowly over to his desk. On his way Mr. Meinert noticed with some satisfaction that one kid had stayed at his seat: Hart Evans.Mr. Meinert forced himself to sit down behind his desk. He opened a copy of Music Educator magazine. He flipped to an article about teaching the music of Bach to high school students. He made himself sit still and stare at the page.He read the first sentence of the article, and then he read it again, and then a third time. He clenched his teeth and felt his jaw muscles getting tighter and tighter. He said to himself, I'm not going to yell. I will not lose my temper. The kids know that what they're doing isn't right, and they will stop it. Then we'll begin again. I will sit here and read until everyone sits down and the room is quiet.It didn't happen. The kids at the windows stayed there. Ed Kenner opened one and stuck his hand out to try to catch snowflakes. In five seconds all the windows were open.Around the room small groups of children formed, and kids started talking and laughing. Some of them leaned against the folding desks, and some sat down in clusters on the floor.Even though he didn't look up from his magazine, Mr. Meinert could tell kids were sneaking quick looks at him. As three minutes crawled by, Mr. Meinert realized that since he didn't look mad, didn't look like a threat, the kids were perfectly happy to pretend he wasn't there. He had ceased to exist. Everyone was perfectly happy to do nothing. Apparently, doing nothing was a lot more fun than singing in the sixth grade chorus.Mr. Meinert did not normally do things on the spur of the moment. He liked to plan. He liked to make lists. He liked to organize his thoughts. He liked to think, and then think again.Not this time.It was partly because of what had happened the day before -- the rubber band incident. It was partly because of everything his wife had said to him at dinner yesterday. It was partly because he hadn't slept well last night and had been feeling lousy all day. And it was partly because Mr. Meinert was sickClements, Andrew is the author of 'Last Holiday Concert', published 2006 under ISBN 9780689845253 and ISBN 0689845251.