Monday, December 17, 2012

"Nicky, Margo and Claire can't be held prisoner in the Vanessa School of Poetry forever." BSC #122: Kristy in Charge (1998)

There really isn't that much to say about this one. I don't know why, but it struck me as pretty boring.

SMS starts a program called Teachers of Tomorrow (TOT) where students spend the week teaching a class. Most of the BSC signs up; Kristy is assigned a gym class. The boy teaching the boy's half of the gym is none other than Cary Retlin. The two of them don't cooperate at all, and nearly get thrown out of the problem. Of course, they pull their shit together at the last minute and do well on the last day.
Meanwhile, Mallory is teaching an eighth grade English class and has no confidence about it, which shows through. The kids start making fun of her and she never really gets it together, though she actually gets a few of the kids on board when she reads poetry to the class.

The sitting subplot is that Vanessa sees what Mallory is doing and decides to start a poetry school. She forces her sisters and Nicky to sit through it, despite their objections. Eventually, Abby shows her that she's sucking all the fun out of her subject, and the younger sibs eventually WANT to write poems with her. And of course, Kristy learns a lesson from this that she takes back to the TOT program.

Interesting tidbits
When Kristy says she wants to volunteer for the TOT program for extra credit, Abby tells her she gets great grades, so she doesn't need extra credit. Isn't there a whole plotline in Kristy for President about how she's tanking science class? Incidentally, how much extra credit is she getting, and in what class?

Kristy chooses classes for those interested in TOT to teach. She says Mallory should teach English and Stacey should teach math, and MA should teach secretarial science. (I can't imagine schools having a class like that, especially middle schools.)
Since TOT volunteers don't get to pick their class, Mal says if she has to do an algebra class, she'll write a poem about it. (Maybe she should get Vanessa to do it for her.)
Stacey, Kristy and MA are all given seventh grade teachers to cover for, while Mal is given an eighth grade teacher. Makes no sense. I can see there being a rule that you can't "teach" in your own grade, but in that case, I'd probably assign eighth graders to seventh grade classes and seventh graders to sixth grade classes, and not let the sixth graders take part.

Claudia misspellings: thot (thought), terned, vershun (twice), strang, Clair.
Vanessa says that spelling was invented to confuse people. Claudia, naturally, agrees. Later, she asks for words that rhyme with fly, and Claudia suggests Eskimo pie.

Kristy ticks me off in this one. She signs up for TOT because she wants to show other teachers the "right way" to teach. She thinks that she knows more than teachers who have at least four years of schooling and years of experience. Chances are, her "cooperating" teacher could be nicer or more fun, but Kristy really thinks she will teach Ms. Walden how to teach classes and that she'll change her.
Kristy also thinks that gym teachers don't write lesson plans, so she doesn't listen to any of the training she's given. Of course, the first day is a complete disaster, partly because she's so keen to do everything differently, and partly because she and Cary can't get their shit together.

Weird! Mrs. Pike has a cell phone. She tells Stacey and Jessi to call if they need her.
Vanessa can't get her brothers and sisters to continue going to her poetry she attempts to blackmail them.

Cary and Kristy fight all through their second class together, and their kids end up in a giant brawl. One kid loses a tooth; another breaks a bone. They (K & C) act like a pair of six year olds. Generally, when Cary shows up in a story, he's all suave. While he enjoys making Kristy look bad, it's usually not at his own expense.
They get sent to the vice principal's office. Remember when that was scary? I remember I got called to the office once, to give a statement on being assaulted on the school bus, but my whole sixth grade class thought I was in trouble.

This story starts the downward spiral of Mallory that leads to her deciding to head to private school. I haven't read the MA book where she decides to leave SMS, but it's on the bookshelf. The students are all calling her Spaz girl because she accidentally sent a piece of chalk flying at the students. Kristy suggests Mal pretend the eighth graders are first graders who are calling her Poo-poo Head instead.
Abby calls Vanessa a tyrant. It's...about right.

When Abby starts her sitting job at the Pikes by finding Margo, Claire and Nicky playing Super Mario. A short time later, she finds Vanessa, bound and gagged and stuffed behind a chair.
Kristy and Cary actually shake hands and enjoy each other's company for a moment. I've always imagined that, if Cary were a little more mature, he would just ask Kristy out.

Claudia: White shirt with a "man having a great idea" (a bald head with lightning bolts coming out of it)

Next week: #101 Happy Holidays, Jessi (though it will probably not be posted until later in the week. Depends on when I get it read and when I get access to a computer to post it.)

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