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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)

TITLE: What is a Smurgery?
By A. E. Cuthbert


“Now boys and girls its time to settle down. I want you all to put your glue sticks and paper away and gather around the red rug for show-and-tell,” Miss Barton announced in a loud voice to almost two dozen first-graders on a Monday afternoon. The room fell into complete chaos as everyone attempted to follow her directions. Glancing over to the left corner, she noticed that Tommy had his glue stick permanently stuck to his head.

“Now Tommy that is enough,” she sighed wiping the glue from his forehead and pushing him toward the bathroom door. Ten minutes later a very noisy and slightly sticky class was seated around the red carpet

“Quiet class, quiet!” Miss Barton clapped her hands. “Someone very special is going to share with us something to show-and-tell today. Annie.”

“Ooooohhh.” A hush went through the class as a little girl wheeled her way from the back in her wheelchair. Annie was the idol of everyone in the class and got so much extra attention because of her wheelchair. She had brown pig-tails and lots of freckles.

“I wanted to show-and-tell about a picture that I have,” she said in her very high-pitched voice holding up a photo of her a hospital bed with a large man in a football jersey beside her.

“This is a picture of me and a famous football player who came to visit the children’s hospital while I was there.”

“Oooohhh!” Everyone in the class tried to move closer to the picture to get a good view, pushing each other in the process.

“Everyone sit down. We will pass the picture around.” Miss Barton pulled apart two boys who were fighting over the closest spot to the picture. “Does anyone have any questions for Annie?” A little red headed boy shot his hand up and wiggled it around as though his life depended on it.


“How come you were in the hospital?”

“Last summer I was on a swing-set and it broke and the beam fell on my legs and broke them.”

“Oooohhhh!” Another hand was waving franticly from the back of the group.


“Did it hurt?”

“Yes it hurt very much…I was screaming a lot.”

“Oooohhhh!” A shy girl from the front row raised her hand.


“Will…will…you ever walk again?” Annie was enjoying answering questions but she frowned at this one.

“I have already had two surgeries but I have to have another one before the doctors say I can walk again.”

“Ok boys and girls just one more question,” Miss Barton said as twenty other hands rose into the air. “Tommy how about you?”

“What is a smurgery?”

“A surgery is when the doctors fix you and you have to say in the hospital for a long time.” Annie’s high-pitched voice broke off and a tear slowly crept down the side of her face. Mrs. Barton grabbed a tissue dabbing franticly at the corners of her own eyes.

“All right boys and girls show-and-tell is over. Everyone outside for recess. Trisha could you stay for a moment.”

Everyone made a mad-rush for the door and a little girl with curly blond hair and a carefree look about her, stayed behind. Miss Barton looked down at the two girls.

“Now Annie I know that you are very scared because of all you have to go through. I know Trisha’s mother and their family believes in Jesus. Annie if you are ever scared you can always ask Trisha to pray with you.” Annie looked over at Trisha curiously and Trisha smiled back. “Now Trisha will you push Annie out onto the playground?”

“Yes Miss Barton.” Trisha pushed the back of Annie’s chair through the classroom and onto the playground chatting with her the whole way.

“Are you scared now Annie? Do you want to pray?” Trisha asked.

“Yes, but I’ve never prayed before.”

“Its ok…its easy…I will show you how.” Miss Barton watched as the two little girls went to the corner of the playground and held hands to pray. She smiled to herself.

“Ah yes, I almost forgot. This is why I became a teacher.” She let out a content sigh that lasted only a moment. “Tommy if you don’t put those rubber-bands down right now you are in big trouble!”

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This article has been read 646 times
Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood11/02/06
I loved this story! The teacher and kids all come to life in both descriptions of actions and dialog, and I felt as though I were right there in the classroom.

Very touching message involving the spiritual wisdom of both teacher and her children.
Joanne Sher 11/03/06
Great job with the description of a second grade classroom - as a former teacher, you definitely brought back some memories! Some of the writing seemed a bit stiff, but the story was quite touching - and the kids' questions quite realistic. Nice job!
L.M. Lee11/04/06
enjoyable read, very much captured the energy of kids
Sharlyn Guthrie11/05/06
Your dialogue is realistic and carries the story well. I can tell you've "been there!"
Trina Courtenay11/07/06
I felt like I was right there in the class room with these children. I loved your title.

If you submit this elsewhere the sentence that starts...“A surgery is"... the say should be 'stay'. Why my eyes catch these I'll never know but I do know I can't catch my own! lol

Great work; great piece.