Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mrs. Teacher

She pulls into the already full of cars parking lot. She's a bit late. Not late by late standards. But late for her standards. She would prefer to arrive to school at least half an hour before the first bell rings; yet, as usual she steps onto campus with fifteen minutes to spare.

Students say, "Hi Mrs. Teacher!" as she walks across the blacktop to her classroom. Greetings and smiles all around. She opens the heavy blue door. The waiting students pretty much fall into the room. Not just her current students, but kids from previous years. Some students stare at her. "That's my teacher," someone whispers. She invites them all in. "Quickly though. Put your things away. I need to get to the office before the bell rings." Mrs. Teacher puts her things in a lockable drawer while her students unload their homework.

After retrieving her attendance folder, she stands by the open classroom door, greeting the third graders once again as they walk into a day of learning. "Time to read to us," a boy says. Smiling. Hands rubbing together in anticipation.

Roll call is called. Homework is corrected.

Then, Mrs. Teacher opens the current book she is reading to the class. R. L. Stine's Goosebumps The Haunted School.

"Ssshhhh. She's reading," someone both excitedly and determined states. Mrs. Teacher entertains her students with a low voice. A high one. And a deep guttural tone. She uses her hands, arms, facial expressions, and feet to bring the story alive. To help them better understand the setting and the mood. Both of character and storyline. The students are riveted. She loves this part of her day. Reading to them.

"More. More. More," they chant after she finishes two cliff-hanging chapters.

Mrs. Teacher puts the book down and asks all the boys and girls to get out their daily review. Language skills and sentence structure. Phonics. She reads a word. The students repeat it. She reads a sentence. They repeat it. Mrs. Teacher wants to ensure they are speaking correctly. Lilting a sentence when necessary. Not lilting when it's not needed. Comprehension. Making sure the students understand what they read. Writing. A letter to Mrs. Teacher. Telling her what they hope to learn during their year in third grade. Why good grades are important. Something their teacher may not know about them. They type the draft on the computer. Edit. Publish. Sign a signature. Their signature. Read. Read. Read. And read some more. That's what the students do. She is hoping she is instilling a love of reading within each of her students.

"Mrs. Teacher, is it okay if I stay in the classroom today during recess to go on the computer? I want to show you the Food Network. R. L. Stine was a judge. People made these really creepy cakes." a young girl both asks and states.
"Sure. That would be fun to show everyone." Mrs. Teacher responds.

She looks around the classroom. For some R. L. Stine reason, each day, one or two students brings in spooky decorations. Mrs. Teacher never even mentioned decorating. All she thinks about is learn, learn, learn. "Mrs. Teacher? Is it okay if I hang these up? To decorate our classroom?" the first thought of the idea student asks. "Oh. Sure. That would make the classroom look good." She smiles at the small child. "Just plan accordingly. Don't hang it where others might bump it and tear it. Also, do not cover the closet door openings. I will need to open and close those." The child smiles back at her.

After lunch, she reads a few more chapters of the book to her non-speaking only listening students. Just as she was about to finish reading, a supposed-to-be-tacked-on-the-wall paper fell. "A ghost!" someone says, wide-eyed. "Maybe the ghost kids in the story are trying to tell us they need help." The other students laugh. So does the bringing the story to life kid.

So does Mrs. Teacher.

She thinks it's working. With the help of Goosebumps. The students are embracing the idea of falling into books. Bringing them to life. In the classroom. In an enjoyable way.


  1. GREAT POST!!!

    Reading to me is the best thing in life....well along with red wine :-)
    I was given this love of books and reading and discovery as a young child who'd mother didn't get to have the education she wanted. She made up for it by reading. She went places because of reading and she passed this all on to me.
    I get so thrilled when I see others read especially kids. I have traveled many places and been many people through books. It not only opens your world but opens your mind. If only more people could open their mind to different people and different lives we'd sure all be in a better place wouldn't we?

  2. This was fun to read d~ I could picture there semi-small faces absorbed in yours as the words rolled from the pages off of your lips. To create such a wonderfully imaginative world for them, to learn to love to read. Brava m'Friend!

  3. I love to peek up from my book and see all those expectant, enthralled little faces too.
    Could hear a pin drop when the story is just right.

  4. My favorite thing to do is "fall into a book." Aptly and well said! It sounds like you're a wonderful teacher. A love for reading is in my opinion, one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.

  5. favorite subject! I had a great teacher like you when I was learning to read and I will never forget her.

  6. Who doesn't enjoy a good read out loud? So much fun as a young student. Good for you for keeping the tradition alive. :)