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Short Story: Critical Call

Yitty Honig

According to Mrs. Weinberg, I couldn’t do anything right in the classroom. How would I survive my second year of teaching with her daughter in my class?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

“Girls, pack up. It’s time to go home,” I said with a smile. “I will choose the winners tomorrow.”

Thirty faces nodded up and down in excitement.

My third-grade students had written poems for our class poetry contest. The pages they had submitted, now tacked up onto the wall, were filled with clever rhymes and metaphors. The words of their poems ran in all directions — in winding circles, on diagonal slants, in short, vertical lines. Each student had decorated her submission with bright markers and paint so that color jumped out from every spot on the wall.

Teaching put me on a high. Especially moments like this. These first few weeks of the school year had been nothing like the previous year, when I had been a fresh-out-of-seminary teacher muddling my way through a new job, trying to fit into my role of “Morah.” This year I could enjoy the hard-won experience I’d gained.

Strolling home that afternoon, I felt tired — yet invigorated. As I opened the front door of my house, I heard the phone ringing. “Miss Feldman, this is Mrs. Weinberg, Simi’s mother calling,” an unfamiliar voice announced. “My Simi hasn’t stopped crying since she walked in from school. She worked so hard on her poem project. Make sure she wins!”


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