Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Learning - Part Two

That keen and ambitious young teacher made it her goal to make sure that the new Iranian student felt at home and became comfortable with her new classmates.

On day one they got down to the business of figuring out the one word in the English language that she needed to know immediately.

"Washroom"

And so, when she needed to be excused to go to the bathroom, the young girl (we will call her Belle) meekly raised her hand and whispered, "washroom?" with an air of uncertainty, to the teacher. And the teacher would give her an enthusiastic ear-to-ear grin and nod her head in approval so that Belle would know that she was pronouncing the word properly.

As the days gave way to weeks, Belle became more and more confident in speaking and began to learn more and more English words. One day while the teacher was painstakingly trying to demonstrate the joys of multiplication tables to the group of twenty-five students in her class, she glanced over and noticed that Belle had completed all her work way ahead of the rest of the kids. It soon became evident that Belle was extremely proficient in mathematics and was a whiz at long division. She soared through most of the grade four math curriculum in a couple of weeks.

The teacher, not one to miss out on a potential learning opportunity, put Belle in charge of tutoring some of the students who were struggling in math. Belle soon found herself highly respected by her peers and no longer being teased for her weakness in English.

As the snow melted and winter gave way to spring, the teacher decided that it was about time she and her class celebrate the fact that they had nearly survived an entire ten months together. She, with her first full-time class, and they, with an inexperienced teacher with very little expertise in curriculum and behaviour management but a heck of a lot of heart.

But field trips cost money, and the school had very little of that. The teacher, passionate for all things sweet, promptly decided that she and her grade four students were going to hold a bake sale. They would use the money they raised to go visit one of the national museums in the area. They would need enough money to pay for transportation and for a class museum pass.

And so they baked. They baked in the little kitchen across the hall from her classroom. The teacher baked at her home late at night. The teacher's mother-in-law baked for the sale. Some of the students baked for the sale, and a handful of parents baked for the sale. The class painted signs and made posters and there was not one metre of school property not adorned with "Grade Four Class Bake Sale" paraphernalia.

On the day of the bake sale the teacher opened her classroom doors at lunch time to a line up of students that reached all the way down the hall and then snaked itself up around the other side of the school. The bake sale was an overwhelming success. Those cookies and tarts and cakes and muffins and loaves and cupcakes earned those grade four students and their keen and ambitious young teacher nearly four hundred dollars.

And she knew the amount was correct, of course, for she had made sure it was Belle who counted all the coins and bills at the end of the sale.

The teacher took half of their savings and booked her class an educational trip to the national Museum of Nature. They took the bus downtown on one beautiful spring day and lined up in single file as they entered the building. They acted respectfully and they didn't yell or run or curse and they made that teacher overwhelmingly proud. For many of those students it was the first time they had stepped foot in a museum, and they had the time of their lives.

With the educational component of their fund-raising efforts covered, the teacher needed to figure out what to do with the second half of their money. So later that week she launched into a lesson on democracy and had her students vote on what the class would do with the rest of their earnings.

She was stunned by what they chose.


To be continued . . .

12 comments:

Amber said...

I'm reading along, on the edge of my seat!

Cin said...

I am thinking perhaps a short story or novelist is inside of you just waiting to get out! Can't wait for Part 3.

JustJenn said...

Eeeeek! I thought it would only be 2 parts for some reason! I am really anticipating the next bit of your story!

Phyllis said...

Can't wait to continue reading the story!

Finola said...

I'm loving this, and I'm thinking this isn't fiction.

Donna M said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
BeachMama said...

Yay Crafty Mom, I love your Bake Sale and way to keep me wanting more...

Some kind of Wondermom said...

What an inspiring story. So well told too!

Chantal said...

can't wait for part 3!

Capital Mom said...

You are making me tear up over here. And I wish you had been my techer.

Loukia said...

I'm also reading on the edge of my seat, Shannon. What a great story so far! And I have such a hard time believing we have children living in this city who haven't experienced our amazing museums... or who sometimes go to school hungry. This post is amazing, and also, an eye-opener of sorts for me.

Anti-Supermom said...

Shannon, what a cool thing to do in your blog - this story is captivating.

Are you sure *you* aren't the teacher?

;)

 
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