Part Three of Four in my series on my two master teachers.

My master teacher said:

I do not invite them over to my house; I do not let them sleep on my couch if they’re having trouble at home, or are kicked out.

Then she says:

I gave up being a counselor a long time ago.

I almost don’t believe it. She is dedicated to our students, even if as strictly students. She gets to know their family life, learns habits, prejudices and excuses. She keeps some notes on each of them in her computer, and remembers the other details.

She doesn’t go to sports, but goes to events during lunch. She congratulates students on their participation or success in either.

I wouldn’t know her room had walls if I were impressionable. Every square inch within reach of her shortish frame is touched by some poster, or project, or the butcher paper replica of the human body for her psychology class.

As far as I am concerned, she teaches her government/economics class, and she teaches it jointly with her English class. She keeps a library of books in her classroom, mostly of the Scholastic-published variety.

The books run the gamut, from The Odyssey backwards to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, though the largest concentration of books is between the eighth- and tenth-grade reading levels.

This is senior English. This is about-to-graduate-and-never-go-back-to-school-again English. She considers herself justified.

These kids graduated from their intervention programs, and the best might scratch the cusp of achievement if they joined an Advanced Placement class. She’s more worried about teaching them to love reading than to spot a synecdoche at 500 yards, or to parse iambic pentameter.

In general, and paraphrased, her philosophy:

Maximum Ride teaches them more about reading than The Scarlet Letter for one reason and one reason only: They won’t read The Scarlet Letter. They’ll wait until the teacher gives them the answers. On the other hand, they’ll read Maximum Ride.

Are her priorities straight? I’m inclined to think that they are.


  1. dkzody

    Sounds like she’s in the right school and she knows it.

  2. Personally, I just think she’s in the wrong grade. I’d rather have kids learn to love to read again during 9th grade, or during middle school.

  3. dkzody

    Sorry, but most 9th graders don’t appreciate learning to read. I’m hoping the 9th grade academies will help alleviate some of that, but it’s still to be seen. By 12th grade, they understand why they need to read, or most of them do. It’s still a struggle to get them to do it. Many of my students do not like to practice anything. Do it once, done.

  4. Maybe I’m at the wrong school.

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