Teaching can be difficult. Meet Karen Woolsworth, a brand new educator who is having tremendous difficulty dealing with her students; especially with one that could destroy her, Kevin Connelly. Find out how Karen is able to cope hrough this enlightening and dramatic text.
This book is unique for its alternate endings. As the plot thickens, be sure to find out all endings and see which one you prefer. Remember the main character, Karen Woolsworth’s fate lies in your hands. Which ending is reality and which one is not?
This book is dedicated to all educators in the world. It is quite difficult and challenging at times to teach the young minds of today. However, it can be quite rewarding and well worth it. Hang in there teachers, and know that you are doing the best that you can do.
A New Journey
I was so excited. I could not wait to go home and tell Billy, my husband, that all of that hard work paid off. Two long years of rigorous grad school finally over. Taking all of those teaching exams and suffering for hours with a proctor staring at you, sizing you up while tapping her pencil, and distracting your every thought when you needed to be in control at that time. Well at least that was what I went through when I took the exams in order to become a teacher.
August 24th, however, was a magical day for me. It is not magical in the sense of wizards and sorcerers, but rather in the sense that I, Karen Woolsworth, landed my first teaching position. The day started out dreary. I woke up to rain. I spilled coffee on one of my suits and had to go with another which was my navy blue suit and white blouse. It was not my favorite, but it had to do. Actually at that time, I would have called it my lucky suit. However, if you asked me what I thought of it today, I would have to say it is definitely not my lucky suit. In fact, there is a jinx or a possible hex on it.
I grew up in the suburbs and never went inside of an urban school, so this was quite an adventure for me. I was so excited and nervous. As I walked up three small steps, I was greeted by a man in a blue uniform who was security. I then gave him my driver’s license ( as proof of ID) and signed in. He told me to turn right at the first door and on the left was the main office. I would then have to meet with the principal. I thanked him and went on my way. I remember my heart was beating so fast and my palms felt so sweaty. It reminded me of a first date, but much worse.
The Principal, Mr. Scott, a tall man with a moustache, asked me lots of questions. He started the interview in a friendly manner by shaking my hand and asked me if I found the school ok. At this point, I remember that his smile turned into more of a serious face as if to say, “Let’s begin.”
He then asked me, “What made me want to go into teaching?” I don’t even remember what I answered him, but he must have been pleased with my response. During the interview, there was another person in the room as well. This person happened to be an assistant principal. She was on the large side with blonde, short, curly, hair. Her glasses hugged her ears tightly. She was the one who asked some really tough questions. She had a poker face on the entire time and did not crack a smile with me. Her name, I will never forget, Ms. Crowe. She reminded me of a shark wearing spectacles staring at a guppy. I guess that you could guess who I was in that scenario: the guppy. I remember Ms. Crowe’s last question was one of the toughest. She questioned me, “How would you prepare your students for the state wide exam?” I must have looked at them dumbfounded. I could not believe this question. I just graduated from my Masters program. I never taught before. I did not know what to say. At that moment in time, a magical thing happened. The principal’s secretary came in and interrupted us saying that he had an urgent call from his wife. He excused himself and told me that I was hired. If I had time to answer the question, I believe that I would not have gotten that job. My life would have been filled with tranquility. He informed me that I would have to teach an eighth grade self- contained class. A self-contained classroom meant that I would have to teach the same children throughout the day. My only hope at this point was that my students would be great and not horrific.
I thanked him and walked out of his tight, stuffy office, leaving him and the shark behind. As I walked out the door, I felt relieved that it was over and my teaching career would begin. I would have to start the following week. I could not wait.
I remember when I was a child, I would watch my mother who was also a teacher come home from work and grade papers. At the dinner table, she would tell my father and me many stories about her students. She would make us all laugh with some of the stories that she shared with us. One thing that I could tell is that she always had so much fun as a teacher. She enjoyed her job and got paid to do it. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to feel the same sense of accomplishment that she did.
I had a few days off before my journey would begin. I knew I had a lot to do. I went to the teaching store so that I could buy some materials for my classroom. While I was in the store, I felt like a child in a candy shop. There were so many items to choose from! I bought some literacy and math books, as well as some borders for my classroom. I chose some with positive words on them such as: Outstanding, Stupendous, Fabulous, Wonderful, etc. because I had learned in grad school that setting up your classroom in a positive way reflects the learning atmosphere positively, (Yeah right!). From that day on, I went on the Internet and looked for ideas for setting up an eighth grade classroom, as well as lessons that I could use for my first week. That week went by quickly and it was soon time for orientation.
The time had come for me to meet my co-workers and set up my classroom. As I walked into the building, I was once again greeted by the aroma of school books which made me feel so happy to be there. The pale blue walls were quite a calming color which was painted throughout the building. Teachers were told that they must report to the cafeteria where a breakfast would be served for all staff members. When I arrived, most people seemed to know each other. I sat next to a few ladies and a skinny, balding man wearing glasses. He introduced himself to me as Mr. King and asked what I would be teaching. When I told him that I was hired as an eighth grade teacher, he looked at me and said, “Good luck!” When he said these two words, he had a serious look on his face. It then hit me that in a few days I would meet my students.
Some questions started to cross my mind: “What should I say to my students on the first day? What if they hated me? How do I---.” My thoughts were interrupted when I saw a tall man with a moustache come in. It was the man that interviewed me, the Principal, Mr. Scott. He asked all the members of the faculty to introduce themselves. My palms were very sweaty as I said that my name is Karen Woolsworth and that I was going to teach class 814. Everyone gasped and looked at me kind of funny as if they knew what I was getting myself into. However, I had to stop for a second and try my best not to think bad thoughts. After Mr. Scott’s speech, we were dismissed and were sent to our classrooms.
When I opened the door, it seemed like a lonely, big room. There were boxes everywhere, which I assumed were from last year’s teacher. I decided to set up my bulletin board. There was so much to do and I never set one up before. It took me six hours to set up my room, and then after that , it still wasn’t complete . I did have to stop a few times because we had several meetings with the Assistant Principal, Ms. Crowe. She seemed nice, but stern and reminded everyone to be strict. She also warned us not to crack a smile. I could not believe that we couldn’t smile. What did I get myself into? I really did not know what to think of her. I noticed Mr. King attended most of the meetings that I did and realized he must be an eighth grade teacher as well. As I sat during each meeting, I could not wait for either the principal or dean to shut up as I had so much more work to do in setting up my classroom.
I did not leave school until 7:30 that night . When I arrived home, I told Billy all about my first day, including how everyone seemed to give me a look when I told them that I was teaching 814. Billy advised me not to read into anything. After all, I hadn’t even met my students yet.
I had one more day of orientation that seemed to go quite fast. It was one meeting after another. I hardly had anytime to spend in my classroom and see what else had to be done. The weekend also sped by. Labor Day seemed to be sad and painful. I had jitters all day because I knew I would meet my students the next day and that it could be great or awful. I told myself to get all the negative thoughts out of my head and that I must enter the school with great expectations. Billy held me all night long. He was like my teddy bear comforting me, as he knew I was nervous. The next thing I knew, the alarm rang. My battle would soon begin.