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Chapter One:  The Early years

The Student Teachers  (Preview)

Chapter Two:  The In-Between  Years

The String of Events   (Preview)

Chapter Three:  The Retirement Years 

Her Retirement Knee   (Preview)



The Student Teachers

Anna Scarlatti is studying to be an Art Teacher and is part of a student-exchange group bound for Italy, the center of the art world. In three days she will depart with nineteen other students from the teachers college in Pennsylvania. They’ll take a train to New York City, an ocean liner from New York to Naples, then a chartered bus north to their final destination in Rome.

On the last day of the ocean voyage, the big ship glides smoothly into the Bay of Naples. The Mediterranean Sea is calm and reflects the crimson sunrise streaking the morning sky. The landing dock teems with people and vehicles. Anna sees brilliant colors in every direction … It is a unique moment in time.

Anna has cleverly written ahead to the school in Rome to post a bulletin … She asks if there is a departing student willing to transfer their apartment over to a new, incoming transfer student. Only one departing student responds and she makes arrangements for Anna to take possession of her flat upon arrival in Rome.

Anna and Donna Goddard are, by chance, seated next to each other on the long bus trip to Rome and soon become fast friends. They discover that they each hale from the same hometown in Pennsylvania, though they did not know each other there. Deep bonds are formed between the two new friends on the long journey.

Anna invites Donna to share the flat she has prearranged, Donna eagerly accepts. Upon their arrival in Rome they make their way to the dwelling and instantly fall in love with what they see. The spacious two-bedroom apartment with marble fireplaces and floors is magnificent. The flat is at the back of an old villa with a terrace that overlooks the beautiful gardens of the Swiss embassy next door.

Like most American students, Anna and the group love to eat Italian food. You don’t hear much idle conversation during meals, just oohs, ahhs, and the tinkling of glasses and silverware. The University is careful to post listings of foods known to be of a health risk. The students pay little attention to such postings.

Had they bothered to look at the list of toxic food items posted this morning, they would have seen “Mussels” at the very top … But they didn’t look … continue



The String of Events

Lorna experiences an eerie sense of foreboding as soon as the alarm goes off — something isn’t right. As she lay there half-awake she chides herself for having the jitters. “Snap out of it Missy; you have a job to do, and there are young people depending on you!”

Lorna Elizabeth Brooks is a Public School Teacher who, at the moment, is seriously debating whether to call in sick. She’s nervous about the ominous feelings assaulting her. It is a tough decision because Ms. Brooks doesn’t do “absent.” In eleven years at the high school, she hasn’t missed a day.

A restorative breakfast and a soothing shower get her going and she proceeds to dress for work. “Good morning Ms. Brooks!” … that is Mia, one of her favorite students entering the classroom. Mia is, literally, the ideal pupil – quiet, well behaved, motivated, and she consistently earns high grades. So, Mia’s warm smile is almost enough to wash away the apprehension that is once again creeping up on Ms. Brooks’ senses.

Mia’s plentiful smiles aren’t quite as frequent, lately. She seems more subdued. Ms. Brooks stares at the pattern of tiny cuts near her temple. The skin looks scraped in that spot. Is that a slight limp Mia is trying to hide?

When Ms. Brooks confronts Mia with a few probing questions, she shrugs it off and says, “It’s nothing Ms. Brooks, I stumbled down the stairs at home. I’ll be all right, thanks.” That’s when the real alarm bells go off in her head because Mia lives in a rambler. There are no stairs. Apparently, Mia has forgotten that Ms. Brooks made a “positive” home visit last year to inform her father of his daughter’s outstanding performance.

She’ll have to investigate this further. Mia changes the subject saying, “Ms. Brooks have you graded the essay I turned in Monday?” She is particularly proud of her efforts on that particular assignment, working long into the night to get it done. She can’t wait to see what Ms. Brooks thinks of it. “I’m so sorry Mia, I stuck the essay somewhere and can’t seem to locate it, I’m sure it will turn up soon.”

No one expects what happens next … continue



Her Retirement Knee


It’s hot outside, and the birds sound louder than usual as Joyce lounges on her comfy sofa enjoying the afternoon breeze. Mrs. Joyce Berry is a retired teacher who is far too comfortable to move at the moment. However, the idea of a thirst-quenching, cool drink encourages her off the couch. Before she is sure of what is happening, Joyce finds herself on her back, on the floor, fuzzily staring up at the ceiling.

Her right knee gives out three steps away from the sofa. This is the first time it has completely failed her. She has jokingly referred to the bothersome joint as her “retirement knee” … “kinda like tennis elbow,” she explains. Ironically, the knee began bothering her the same year she retired.

Joyce Berry and her husband, Perry, never had children. Perry died only last year. He too, was a teacher. He died at the kitchen table with a mouth full of peas & mashed potatoes, a Mountain Dew in his left hand – a massive heart attack. Part of Joyce died right along with him.

Retired just two years, Joyce is fifteen pounds heavier and she is suffering from chronic aches & pains. And now, here she lies on the floor wondering what is going on. She is stunned … having crazy thoughts after her fall … she is recalling running into her old colleague, Audrey Speed, yesterday. “Oh m’ gosh, Joyce, what is wrong?” Audrey exclaimed! “I’m all right, Audrey, I know I don’t look my best. Too much snacking, too much sitting, too much vino, too often,” Joyce replies honestly.

Meantime, she has to get off the floor, off her back … continue



This ebook offers a different spin on the things we know about teachers, in general. Get intimate glimpses into the interesting, personal lives of teachers … in the classroom and out. Beginning teachers may find some of the information here particularly useful.

The ebook has three chapters that cover experiences from the start of a teaching career through to the conclusion. Enjoy an unusual and unique look at Public School Teachers.



Public School Teachers … An Inside Look 



Jill Shea, Teacher …

 11035312_1389150848067482_6426104194267660390_n“I am so happy that I am the first to write a review on Ferguson’s book because I loved it. Ferguson takes a common sense approach to describe typical occurrences in typical classrooms across America. Middle school, high school, East coast and West coast experiences are reported and anyone, especially teachers, can relate to them. He doesn’t need pedagogy or pedanticism. His stories just cut to the chase and explain themselves, delightfully, or depending, disturbingly. My only wish is that there were more stories. As a side note, I think Mr. Ferguson’s insights should be shared in college educational programs. Student teachers would not only be enlightened but expectant that anything can happen.”


Ruth Browne, Humanitarian …

RUTHIE“From this brief sketch I learned more about public school teachers than from some of the tomes I’ve read. It contained simple practical advice, like how important just the arrangement of classroom seating can be. The poignant short short stories were revealing, showing the human side of what goes on behind the scenes.”


Cynthia Parchment, Art Teacher …

PARCHMENT“What a delightful fun memory filled story book! Love the way your sentences flow and paint the picture. I knew those people. I knew those kids. I knew that world, it’s stresses, it’s highs and lows. And like the character who loved teaching and never regretted a moment, still I am glad I’m on the other side of that coin. I still think of that kid that I was sure wouldn’t make it and did. And the one I thought would be great and lost the way. And like all good teachers, hope I made a difference somehow. I am sending the book to my daughter who is in her 6th year of teaching. I’d Love to read more. You are a gifted writer as well as an artist. Totally jealous!”


Lillian Swanson, English Teacher …

SWANSON“Sometimes I don’t even get to read your articles. Today I did read and commented and it was let through, so you will read it. I had wanted you to write for Kindle because your writing is superior. The course you might look at is Project Life Mastery. I think it a wonderful course.”


Kathleen Wells, Teacher & principal …

KWELLS 1Public School Teachers… An Inside Look, is a book that only a seasoned educator will truly appreciate. We all have our similar experiences and we certainly have known a few of these personalities. Brings back a few memories, some good, some bad. I am a retired teacher and principal so I’ve seen it all… on both levels. I think the book is well written and worth reading while you’re having your morning coffee or tea. You won’t be disappointed.

Other books by this author