"" Writer's Wanderings: An Apple for the Teacher--7

Saturday, September 09, 2006

An Apple for the Teacher--7

Jill spied Cassie sitting in her chair, head between her knees, shaking her head wildly about.

"Cassie," Jill said softly. She didn't respond. "Cassie!" Several students jumped as she shouted. Jill crossed the room, took Cassie by the hair and righted her in her seat.

Cassie stared at Jill defiantly at first, then hung her head as though repentant. Jill was shaking. She had never handled a child so roughly before. What was she to do? She couldn't get Cassie to finish her work. Her attention span was next to nothing and she was like a jack-in-the-box jumping out of her seat every five minutes.

"Cassie, this paper is not finished. You must do the whole picture and be neat. Learning to color in the lines is as important as getting the answers right."

Jill's anger grew. doesn't this child appreciate what she has? Doesn't she want to impress her new mother? The pangs of jealousy hit hard. Jill wished she had a mother with whom she could share the excitement of her teaching award. A mother who would be proud of her and encourage her.

After lunch, Mr. Bridges introduced the visiting committee from the state PTA organization, his comments made Jill feel guilty about her reaction to Cassie. "Mrs. Passep is an outstanding teacher. Her students leave this classroom each year working well above average. She takes time to get to know each student individually."

All but Cassie, Jill thought. How could she be jealous of a little six year old? It was ridiculous--ridiculous but true. Resolving to make a concentrated effort to reach Cassie in spite of her feelings and Cassie's difficult behavior, she arranged to have some time with Cassie after school to help her catch up with her work.

"Please finish up that paper, Cassie. Your mother will be here soon to pick you up. I'm going to the office for a moment. I'll be right back."

Jill let out a hissing sigh as she walked down the hall. This was a waste of time. Cassie had spent a half hour on a paper that should have taken ten minutes and she still wasn't done.

An envelope poked out of Jill's mailbox in the office. She grabbed it and tore it open. The letter explained that Jill was one of ten educators being honored at the state PTA convention. One of the ten would be the state's nominee for the national award. Jill's heart pumped faster. As she walked back to her classroom she read the questionnaire that was enclosed.

Jill was so distracted she failed to notice the paper on the floor until she stepped on it. When she reached down to pick it up, her eyes caught a glimpse of the rest of the room. She gasped.

(Continued. . .)

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