"Mr. Geoff!" she gasps excitedly in class while I'm getting ready to teach using motivation to analyze character. "I believe that school is pointless. I have to explain it to you."
"Ok, Stacha, but you'll have to wait until after class."
"I can't wait," she whines. "You don't need to teach because it's not important. The world is Hell. We're all in Hell right now!"
I convince her to wait and teach the next step of my lesson. As annoying as Stacha can be, she's also brilliant and awesome, and I can't wait to hear what she has to say. And at lunch I'm not disappointed. I share my tangerine with her as Stacha outlines a truly amazing Gnostic theory of existence: the Earth was created by Satan or a false God, and things like school and jobs prevent us from following God's true Will. Only those who wake to the truth of this, who try to drop out of the rat race and "walk the Earth in peace," will have a chance at redemption. Adam and Eve didn't have jobs, after all, and they were happy.
I tried a few meager stabs at her belief system, just to see what she'd say: Would you rather live in Paradise and know nothing, or live in Hell and have a chance to learn? etc. I also told her that she is not alone in her belief. I asked where she got her ideas and what her mother thought about it: mother doesn't know, and would be shocked! But the ideas came, according to Stacha, from reading too much.
I know the feeling. I suppose I should encourage her to write them all down. Maybe she can print them up in a pamphlet and distribute it anonymously around the sixth grade. Maybe our own little Gnostic splinter group will form?