September 18, 2013

BSC #122, Kristy in Charge: Isn’t She Always?

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 8:09 pm by Jenn

Cary, we need to talk about your shorts

Cary, we need to talk about your shorts

Summary: Stoneybrook Middle School has no shortage of special programs, and now there’s another one: Students get to spend three days teaching classes. Kristy, Mary Anne, Stacey, and Mallory all sign up, as does Cary Retlin. Kristy and Cary are both assigned gym classes, and find out that during this portion of the course, they’ll have to teach together. It goes badly. Very badly.

Cary goofs off all the time, while Kristy yells at the kids and forgets to let them enjoy themselves. She doesn’t think she needs to submit a lesson plan (even though that’s part of the assignment) since it’s a gym class, and you can’t really plan everything out. Plus, Kristy doesn’t like the teacher she’s filling in for and who’s supervising her, so she doesn’t want to do what that teacher advises her to do.

Things really go off the rails when Cary and Kristy split up into teams for a soccer game and the students end up rioting and pounding on each other. It’s technically not Kristy and Cary’s fault, but they’re put on probation and told that the school might not do the student-teaching program again if they can’t turn things around. Of course, Kristy and Cary learn to Work Together and Communicate and Take Things Seriously like the good little fictional ’90s children they are.

Meanwhile, Mallory has a horrible time: She’s student-teaching Kristy and Mary Anne’s English class, and the other students are awful to her. She’s incredibly nervous, and they just make things worse. They start calling her Spaz Girl and taunting her outside of class. It gets so bad that meek little Mary Anne actually yells at them to show some respect. In the end, the students do listen to her, but Mal is still called Spaz Girl, and she’s not happy that people think she’s a joke.

The B-plot is about Vanessa catching the teaching bug and forcing her younger siblings to attend poetry school. They overthrow her because she’s a horrible teacher and criticizes everything they do. Abby gets her to calm down and remember that she needs to make learning fun.

Thoughts: Some of the kids at SMS are terrible people. And the teachers really shouldn’t be blaming the student-teachers for the kids being out of control. Clearly these kids weren’t mature enough to handle this program, which isn’t the student-teachers’ fault. Mallory’s students are bullying her to her face in front of their teacher, and all she does is give them more homework. Come on!

I’m surprised Mary Anne wants to do the teaching program, since she doesn’t like speaking in front of groups.

Kristy wears plaid pleated shorts to teach her gym class. Somewhere, Claudia is shuddering. Later, she wears Umbros. Totally ’90s!

“You’d think a bunch of eighth-graders would give a break to a poor kid who was two years younger than they were.” You’d think a girl who’s been in middle school for a decade would know that’s not how middle-schoolers roll.

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3 Comments »

  1. anon said,

    This was one of the books after my obsession ended, but reading other recaps for it has always made me wonder why any school would put a sixth grader in charge of an eighth grade class. I know SMS is incompetent at times but still. Make the sixth graders go to the elementary school if they want to participate- then they at least have some authority.

  2. Ramie said,

    I felt sorry for Mallory in this one. The teacher totally should have spoken up and done something.

  3. SJSiff said,

    I never thought about the fact that the teachers just sat back and let the class walk all over Mallory like that. Wow.


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