In fifth grade, I was the class bookworm.
My main memory from fifth grade was looking up to realize I was being scolded once again for reading a "fun" book underneath my desk during lectures.
That happened almost daily. Sometimes more than once a day too.
Our desks that year were the little tables with a shelf underneath for us to keep our school supplies in. Perfect for subtly pulling out a chapter book when we were supposed to be reading a textbook or taking notes.
But in fifth grade, subtle isn't really an option. I'd often get so engrossed in whatever book I was reading at the time that I forgot to look up and around or move around a bit and not make it quite so obvious I was reading underneath my desk.
But, my teacher, bless her, knew enough to not take away my books when I got scolded.
I had a lot of problems with my hearing fluctuating that year. I suspect that if I added up the days, I probably spent more time without hearing that year than I did with. And well, school gets boring when you can't hear at all. There's only so long you can lip read before you get tired of trying to figure out the topic of conversation, and if the teacher was calling for answers from the class, there was no way I could read lips of every student, so eventually, I'd give up.
I'd take a break and seek refuge in the book of the day. Because even when I couldn't hear, books remained my true friends. There were whole worlds out there to discover, and reading was one activity that I could do anytime....whether or not I could hear.
My teacher would eventually catch on....probably because I was the only one looking down when everyone else was watching her....she'd come by, scare the crap out of me (not intentionally) and when she had my attention, scold me for not paying attention, and walk away.
But she never took away my book, because she understood. Sometimes, I just needed a break. Sometimes, I just needed a friend. Sometimes, yes, I was just being rebellious (as only a bookworm could be).
That empathy, well, that made her one of the best teachers I ever had. The fact that she didn't take away my books, well, that guaranteed that books have always been one of the best friends I ever had.