Sunday, April 18, 2010

If I Were A Woman

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If that title didn’t catch your attention, I don’t know what will. In fact, already in my mind’s eye I can see my dad catching his breath as the title of the post shows up in his reader, and his heart skips a beat.
No dad, it’s nothing like that.
For the past several years I’ve had this idea. It’s a perfectly, awfully wonderful idea, too. You see, back in 1983 master storyteller, Roald Dahl, published a delightfully horrible book, The Witches. It’s a story that starts out giving a warning to children about witches and how they are indeed real.

Dahl goes on to give a set of helps so that children can recognize these witches who walk among us. Of the things he says to look for, he lets the reader know that witches are completely bald, and must therefore wear wigs to hide this fact. He lets us know that witches have to scratch their heads continually because these wigs are so itchy. He tells the reader that witches have no toes, and therefore will often wear shoes without points to them, or will be forced to cram their feet into pointy shoes that are quite uncomfortable. He mentions that witches have long, curved fingernails and they hide this fact by wearing gloves. And lastly, he tells us that witches will often crinkle their noses when around children because children smell like dogs’ droppings to them.
Brilliant says I.

The story goes on with the following:

For all you know, a witch might be living next door to you right now. Or she might be the woman with the bright eyes who sat opposite you on the bus this morning. She might be the lady with the dazzling smile who offered you a sweet from a white paper bag in the street before lunch. She might even — and this will make you jump — she might even be your lovely schoolteacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion. Don't let that put you off. It could be part of her cleverness. I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch. All I am saying is that she might be one. It is most unlikely. But — and here comes the big "but" — it is not impossible.

Can you already see the brilliantly, brilliant idea which had formed in my head?

Of course you have. For you also my friend, are nefarious.

Could I just tell you that if I were a female schoolteacher that I’d start the school year off wearing gloves every day? Could I share with you that I’d scratch my head all the time, and try to look like I were being secretive about it? Might I share that I would act like I were around a skunk when standing next to one of my students? Could I let you know that I would wear the most ugly shoes I could possibly find?

Oh, the deviousness of me.

Then, after the first week of school, I’d start read-aloud time; The Witches would be the very first book I would read to them. When I reached the part about the possibility of their teacher being a witch, but how it is most unlikely, I’d laugh—something akin to the Wicked Witch of the West. I’d tell them that it was absolutely absurd—the idea of therereally being anything such as witches. Then I’d scratch my head with my gloved fingers and crinkle my nose.

I’d love to teach second grade just for this.

I know; I’m a terrible person.

Image garnered from


Anonymous said...

C.C. said…

Too funny, perhaps you can teach second grade and attempt on being likened to the BFG.

APRIL 18, 2010 11:13 AM

Amy said…

THAT is a very funny idea! I'll have to share this blog with my fellow 2nd grade co-workers and see what they think! I'm pretty sure kindergartners would not get it! ;)

APRIL 18, 2010 11:34 AM

Sarah Lindahl said…

That is a funny idea! I think it might be too hot though, in September, the long gloves and the wig. (but I suppose you wouldn't really need a wig. If you were really committed though, you'd shave your head and wear a wig). I also love Shel Silverstein's ABZ book, which is along the same lines, but you couldn't read it in school.

APRIL 18, 2010 1:15 PM

Chrissy said…

My girls loved Roald Dahl!. They have read all of his books... If I were in school I would love it if my teacher was a witch.. Kids love when a teacher has an imagination, it brings out the kid in the teacher, that's for sure...I double dog dare ya to dress up as

APRIL 18, 2010 1:28 PM

imbeingheldhostage said…

Not terrible, just hilarious. I think I want to be a teacher now.

APRIL 18, 2010 1:29 PM

tammy said…

And now I want to become a teacher, just to do this.

APRIL 18, 2010 1:31 PM

Mamma has spoken said…

If I was you, I would still do it. Thing is, there are male 'witches' too (not in this book, I know). You could do a whole lesson plan on preconceived notions ;o) Plus it would get them all wondering more than if you are a witch or not......

Anonymous said...

APRIL 18, 2010 1:50 PM

mywest said…

Great job son...put another nail in my coffin... Funny story and I could see you playing the witch role on your students. Perhaps if the opportunity ever presents itself you could add to the story as every good witch needs a war-lock companion.

APRIL 18, 2010 2:19 PM

Richard & Natalie said…

You are terrible.... and I like it! It's what makes you a great teacher! You are willing to go outside of the box to teach and endear books like The Withches to your students. In the end, you ultimately endear them all to you.

I know one boy who is ready for you to come "out of the box" again. We've had a little anxiety this weekend, so I hope they earn "you" back quickly. But I know the lessons he's learning are worth it.

And well, if you are really serious about wanting to do know TF, there is always drag......
NOT! :)

APRIL 18, 2010 2:22 PM

Teachinfourth said…

L - Friendly Giants? I think not…it isn't nearly as much fun as evility. Of course, for a few years I did pull off Professor Snape on Halloween.

A - Let me know if anyone really does it, I'd love to know the outcome.

S - I'll have to read that one. I haven't. To be honest, James and the Giant Peach is one of my absolute favorites of his and every year it's one of the staples which gets read to my class.

C - It wouldn't have the effect I am going for if I did dress up, it would simply be creepy.

IBHH - This is the only reason I'd ever want to teach second grade…

T - It would be fun, no doubt.

B - I had an instructor at college who left us all hanging wondering just what he did in his off time. He'd drop subtle hints of things, but we were so in the dark that it was actually intriguing.

Dad - It's just a bummer that it wouldn't have the same effect. Ah well…

N - It is kind of a drag not teaching like I usually do. I think that it will only take a day or three to start earning back things one or two at a time. I have a feeling it will carry a greater impact if those things are returned individually instead of all at once.

Hope there's not too much anxiety.

APRIL 18, 2010 2:36 PM

Gerb said…

The fact that this idea crossed your mind does not surprise me one little bit.

APRIL 18, 2010 3:33 PM

A Lark said…

You know, some us wouldn't have to act very much to pull this off....... (witch cackle). So much influence we teachers have over our gullible students...I LOVE it!

Remember the storytelling festival we did for a couple of years at SSV? I was a "witch" one year, totally dressing as you described and telling an excerpt from the story. It was great fun!

APRIL 18, 2010 3:37 PM

Anonymous said...

Shannon said…

You, dear Mr. Z...are incorrigible.

APRIL 18, 2010 6:38 PM

Cheeseboy said…

That is so cool. We definitely need to find a like minded book with a male character!

APRIL 18, 2010 7:07 PM

Kelly said…

If I had a teacher who would go to that much trouble I would never ever ever forget them. What a "scathingly brilliant idea"

(name the movie that came from I dare you!)

APRIL 18, 2010 8:34 PM

Teachinfourth said…

G - And to say that it wouldn't have crossed yours?

J - I think you should do it, Nells.

S - Love the word Choice!

A - I couldn't agree with you more, sir!

K - You should read what I do for Halloween:

Isn't that quote from "The Trouble with Angels"?

You can find anything on the Internet...

APRIL 18, 2010 8:45 PM

Rachel said…

I am sitting here next to Colin in the hospital reading this and the first thing that crosses my mind is, "I have to go visit TF's class today! I need to wear gloves, and itch my head, and wrinkle my nose, and wear my really pointy shoes......." Oh the evil desire!!!!! Dang! Another day..........

APRIL 19, 2010 7:36 AM

Danielle said…

You'd be so good! Our 5th grade teacher read that, I'd be SO excited for that time of day to hear more of that story! Its a good one!

APRIL 19, 2010 10:29 PM

Teachinfourth said…

R - Only I haven't read the book to them, most of them wouldn't know what you were up to…

D - Good books have a way of drawing you in.

APRIL 22, 2010 9:57 PM

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