SMS has a new program planned for its students, and it's called "Teachers of Tomorrow." Any interested student will be given the opportunity to teach a couple of classes at SMS in exchange for some extra credit. Kristy, Mallory, Mary Anne, and Stacey all sign up for the program; Kristy will be teaching gym, Mallory will be teaching English, Mary Anne will be teaching Social Studies, and Stacey will be teaching math. Everyone has to sit through some training sessions before they're handed over control of their classes,but Kristy doesn't think she needs any instruction. She likes the idea of lesson plans, which are a big part of the training, and even considers requiring the BSC to do them for each of their sitting jobs. She doesn't think she'll need any kind of plan for PE, though. Ms. Walden, the teacher who's class Kristy is going to get, pulls her side after the second training session and gives her a few tips on how to make things run smoothly. Kristy tunes her out; she doesn't like Ms. Walden's teaching style, and she plans to show her how things can be run better. She definitely listens up when Ms. Walden tells her that she'll be combining her class with a boys' PE class, taught by none other than Cary Retlin.
The first class doesn't exactly go smoothly. Cary and Kristy both ask to separate their classes so they don't have to work together, but Ms. Walden and Mr. DeYoung say no. Then, Cary goofs off during Kristy's warm-up. distracting the class. Then, during the soccer game, Cary shows off even more, and Mr. DeYoung has to step in and restore order. Kristy isn't the only BSC member having trouble with her ToT class, either. Mallory was assigned to teach an 8th grade English class, and her first day is even worse. Kristy and Mary Anne are in the class, and they try and help things along, Mallory simply has no confidence in her ability to handle the class. She drops things, and accidentally sends a piece of chalk flying across the room. This earns her the nickname "Spaz Girl," and she's in tears by the end of class.
Kristy decides a lesson plan might be a good idea for the second class, so she makes the most detailed one in the history of SMS. She decides not to go over it with Cary ahead of time, though, so there's still a distinct lack of teamwork. Then, they head outside for a soccer game. Kristy had split the class into two teams (one for her to coach and one for Cary), but the class complains about the way that she divided them up. Cary steps in and asks them to split into two teams however they want, and they end up with two fairly equal groups. Kristy immediately claims the group that has the most big, strong-looking kids for herself, but that wasn't the wisest move. All the kids on Cary's team are in karate together, and some of them are better players than they look like they should be. Cary and Kristy fight over everything; each one thinks that the kids of the other's team are causing problems on purpose, and eventually, a fight breaks out between the kids. Eventually, Mr. DeYoung has to step in again, and Cary and Kristy are sent to the vice principal's office. Mr. Kingbridge isn't happy; several kids had to be treated for injuries, and the ToT program might end up cancelled because of it. He gives Kristy and Cary one more chance to prove themselves, though.
At the BSC meeting that afternoon, everyone commiserates on the rotten day they had. Mallory had another rough English class and ended up in tears, and (of course) Kristy ended up in hot water. Mallory decides that she's going to teach a poem she likes to the class and not worry about what they think of it, and Kristy decides to try a game that might foster teamwork insteadof competition. To her surprise, Cary likes her ideas, and he even uses some of her warm-up ideas when Kristy agrees to try letting him lead that part of class. Mr. DeYoung and Ms. Walden agree that the two of them almost redeemed themselves for the disaster that was their first two days of teaching. Mallory, though, has a tough time of it on her last day. She manages to finish strong, but not without more "Spaz Girls" being thrown at her. It looks like that nickname is here to stay....
Subplot: Vanessa tries to start a poetry school for your younger siblings, but she turns into a total drill sergeant about it. She coerces them in to being her students by threatening to tattle on them, and forces them to write her way. Abby eventually has a talk with her and encourages her to make poetry fun for her sibs.
Thoughts and Things
- Suzanne Weyn kind of owns the end of the BSC series; she's responsible for 5 of the last 10 books. Interestingly enough, Peter L. doesn't have any (I'm not taking FF into account with this).
- Thank the Lord that Kristy never followed through with making the BSC members do lesson plans for their sitting jobs. If they pitched a fit over that stupid checklist she posted way back near the beginning of the series, imagine what would happen if they had to do those plans. Riot!
- It's funny that Kristy is back to hating Cary in this book when he was working well with the BSC in the last one I recapped.
- It WAS pretty cruel to give Mal and 8th grade class; that really shouldn't have happened.
- BSC trivia: Grace Blume was the first person to call Mallory "Spaz Girl."