Thursday, April 26, 2007

Three Cheers Elsewhere

There's nothing like speaking to a classroom full of second graders ready to take a test.

You walk in to hear cheers and clapping. Of course, it's because the test has been postponed until you leave, not because there's any acclaim for being a published author.

It all began with the last parent-teacher conference. My daughter begged me to tell her teacher that I'm an author and that I'd be willing to speak to the class. I'd spoken to her older siblings' classes before, and she thought that me doing the same for hers would be mucho cool.

After Mrs. M. told me that my cute little thing was tops in reading and a model student and all that jazz (of course she is--she's my daughter!), my little girl gave me this look that said, "Mom! Say something!"

So I sort of mentioned the whole author thing and said that if she's interested, I could come talk to her class. The teacher hemmed and hahed and said maybe. I heard nothing else for months, and figured she'd never take me up on it, but at least I offered, and my daughter knew it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Mrs. M. called me and asked if I'd speak after all. Sure, I said. When would you like me to come? What shall I talk about? We jotted the details on the calendar: Thursday, April 26, 10:00 am.

That would be TODAY. I got my stuff together, and this morning I walked into the classroom door.

To see a substitute.

Who looked a bit perplexed to see me.

I had to introduce myself as Mrs. Lyon, the cute little red head's mom. I explained why I was there.

She abandoned the test she was about to hand out (hence the cheers and clapping) and let me take 30 minutes to talk to the class even though Mrs. M. had apparently forgotten I was coming and hadn't told the sub anything about it.

I told the class a bit about what I do, how I knew I wanted to be a writer ever since I was their age, and we did some fun writing exercises centered on a field trip I had chaperoned recently. I taught them a few things that Mrs. M. wanted them to learn (which we had discussed on the phone).

The kids' hands were flying into the air, and they seemed to really enjoy it--and by golly, they were really getting the hang of the concepts, too. I had fun. I think they did as well. I passed out bookmarks and buttons that had one of my covers on them--and left one of each on Mrs. M.'s desk as a gentle reminder that I had been there.

As I walked out, I heard the sub saying, "Now for the test," followed by groans from the students.

But I know I was a bright spot in one kid's life. A tow-headed boy named Cody said it was his birthday, and that this was one great part of it.

And frankly, I had fun, too, even though the cheers weren't for me.

1 comment:

Luisa Perkins said...

I'm sure the cheers WERE for you! The kids will remember it fondly, even if their teacher forgot (LAME).

And how eerie that we both were speaking to second graders about writing within 24 hours of each other. (Whistling Twilight Zone theme....)

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