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
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
Charlotte hurries down to the vegetable patch alongside the woodshed where I sit pulling weeds. “Come up to the house, sister. Mother has returned from the market,” she says. So, I use my well-worn apron to wipe my hands and follow her up the slope to the house. Mother, known as Granny Wright in our community, stands tapping her impatient foot as I approach. She is waiting for me to unload the groceries from the van and put them away
To hear her voice, you would not know that Granny Wright is over a hundred. She looks a sight younger than her age too. Her skin is surprisingly smooth, and her mind is amazingly sharp. Her erect posture makes it easy to imagine her ordering students about the schoolhouse and ruling them with an iron fist.
Family members are wary because Mother has a tongue that can cut steel and she doesn’t hesitate to use it. I was born Marie Francine Wright, and I am Granny Wright’s fifth child. She gave birth to six daughters and five sons and we all have mixed feelings about our mother. Some of us are still intimidated by her, despite the fact that we are now in our 70s and 80s.
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 …
“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 …
“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 …
“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 …
“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 …
Public 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.