by Mark Shyres & Debbie Hefke, co-illustrator
Wigu Publishing 02/04/2014
Age 7-12 64 pages
“Carlee always wanted to be a teacher when she grew up, until her mother is hired as a teacher at her school! Some of her friends are even in her mother’s class. Carlee is worried. What will her friends say? Will her mother do something to embarrass her? Carlee vows to never to become a teacher like her mother, but as she journeys through the first day of school with her own new teacher, Carlee makes some surprising discoveries.”
“Carlee always wanted to be a teacher and she always loved starting a new school year. Not anymore.”
Carlee is anxious about the first day of school. In her way of thinking, this day will be the worst of her life. Why? Carlee’s mother is starting a new job today . . . at Carlee’s school . . . as a teacher . . . teaching some of Carlee’s friends! Carlee even takes the school bus when she could have taken a ride with mom to school. On the bus, Carlee ignores a friend. Walking into the school, Carlee lowers her head. She decides she is not going to be a teacher, even though it was all she wanted to be yesterday. Today, her mom is at her school, teaching her friends, and she never wants to do that to her kids.
Carlee took on a brighter disposition sitting in her new classroom. With each new subject the teacher, Mrs. Frank, talked about, Carlee envisioned the things she could do instead of being a teacher, because she is never going to be a teacher. In geography, Carlee saw herself as an explorer, traveling new lands like Lewis and Clark did in the western U.S. or Marco Polo did—for 34 years— in Asia. Marco Polo even wrote about what he saw, and what he learned, inspiring Christopher Columbus.
History class had Carlee seeing herself as an astronaut like Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. She could run for president of the U. S. and meet people like Martin Luther King, because she was never going to be a teacher, like her mother. Carlee continued to imagine herself in all sorts of careers based on her day. In P.E. class, Carlee thought she might be a soccer champion or an Olympic swimmer . . . if she got good at sports. In art class, Carlee thought she might be a famous artist like Leonardo da Vinci. Carlee would learn math and become a banker like Alexander Hamilton, who was the first Secretary of the Treasury. Men like Galileo and Albert Einstein did great things with math; she could too, because Carlee was never going to be a teacher. The librarian, who Carlee helped the year said,
“Carlee, I understand your mother is a new teacher here. That must be exciting.”
Carlee just knew everyone heard the librarian, making her want to shrink to the size of a book. Carlee was never going to be a teacher, and now, she was never going to be a librarian. Finally, the first day of school was over. Relived, Carlee thought that maybe school would not be so horrible after all. Then Carlee’s friend Ava walked out of mom’s classroom and called Carlee over. Carlee walked faster, fearful of what Ava would say about the new teacher. Ava caught up to Carrie and said . . .
In When I Grow Up, I Want to Be . . . a Teacher! Carlee always wanted to be a teacher until the day her mother begins teaching at her school. Like many kids her age, Carlee is self-conscious about her parents, rarely happy for others to see her with them. Image if, when you were that age and your mother began teaching in your school and taught your friends. Mortified is a word that comes to mind, and embarrassed. Carlee’s mother, who has yet to do anything embarrassing, nonetheless embarrasses Carlee. Reality means nothing. What matters is what Carlee imagines and she imagines her mother doing the wrong thing and other students laughing. If they laugh at her mother, they laugh at her.
Carlee even takes it out on the librarian when she remarks how exciting having mom teach at the school must be for Carlee. Carlee immediately dismisses librarian as an alternative career to teacher. She is never going to be either now. The entire story plays out in Carlee’s head. I think the author nailed the character. Kids at that age, dare I say especially girls, prefer to have been raised by wolves than by their parents. I like how the author weaves historic figures into the story and then has Carlee consider alternative careers based on those people. Kids reading Carlee’s story should remember some of this history, despite themselves.
When I Grow up I Want to Be . . . is a wonderful series for this very reason. Kids will enjoy the stories and learn at the same time. Teachers can use these books to introduce students to different careers and people in that career, as in I Want to be in the Army, or various historic people as in I Want to Be a Teacher. I guess one could call this series a “twofer,” in that you get a good story and a lesson all wrapped up between two colorful covers.
“When I Grow Up” ~~ Shirley Temple (R.I.P.)
Learn more about the When I Grow Up I Want to be a . . . series HERE.
WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE . . . A TEACHER. Text copyright © 2014 by Mark Shyres. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Mark Shyres and Debbie Hefke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Wigu Publishing, Laguna Beach, CA.
Other titles in the I Want to Grow Up to Be . . . Series
COMING LATER THIS YEAR
. . . a Race Car Driver
. . . a Nurse
. . . a Veterinarian
. . . a Good Person
. . . in the US Air Force