This story reminded me of myself as a child.
TL;DR: Look up.
In school (and now at work too) I had the habit of fiddling with small object under my desk when in class. From stumped pencils to a knedible erasers, I always had something to fiddle with. It helped me concentrate and think, but of course no teacher ever believed that.
I also loved reading, and had perfected a few ‘fast reading’ techniques by the time I was 9. (relevant)
In class, there were often ‘aloud reading’ sessions, where the teacher would have us take turns in reading a story out loud. As a practised reader, I read faster than other kids and them reading aloud was even slower. So I would sit, listen, stare out the window, and fiddle with whatever I had in my hands.
More often than not, teacher would call out my ‘not paying attention’ and have me read the next paragraph. Multiple times per reading session. To which I turned my head to the book, found the last read phrase within seconds and continued reading the story aloud flawlessly.
It pissed more than one teacher off, but I never got sent to the principal’s office because I technically hadn’t done anything wrong.