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Kristen Wilking


readingTwo Classrooms

Mrs. Heinz made me feel small.
I was already small for a 4th grader,
I hated feeling as if my brain was small, too.
I hated the way she rose her voice above us
And glared at us through her silver wire-rimmed glasses.
I hated the way she yelled, “Sit down!”
And acted as if we were mini soldiers.
I knew there were others who felt the same—
Small, dumb, inadequate.
I failed math that year...I wonder why.

How could anyone become a teacher,
After having a teacher like that?
Well, I had decided in 2nd grade that
I would be a teacher.
Mrs. Heinz would not stop me.
I’ve forgotten most memories of her now.
But if I could come back and haunt her,
I might. And I would simply say,
“Thank you.
Thank you for teaching me,
How not to teach children.”

A very shy girl.

In a 7th grade classroom.
Her big blue eyes stare lovingly
at her teacher, Mrs. Marco.
A small-group discussion.
A simple comment, “You’re really funny.”
An invitation, “You should think about joining the speech team.”
The next few nights filled with thoughts and questions.
Would she do it?
Could she do it?
Mrs. Marco believed in her.
But she needed to believe in herself.
*           *           *
A script, a poem.
A room full of people.
Words spoken aloud.