Class Dismissed

by Allan Woodrow (2015)

A Sweet Spot selection. 

“I think I might have learned more from not having a teacher than I did having one.” – Maggie

We’ve all experienced a Ms. Bryce before – that strict, old-fashioned teacher that has been in the profession for a long, long time – the teacher that you wish would quit. Class 507, the worst class Ms. Bryce has ever taught, gets their wish when she resigns during the middle of a science experiment disaster. And the school office never finds out, leaving Class 507 without a teacher.

Class Dismissed is told in alternating chapters from the perspective of five students in Ms. Bryce’s class: Kyle, the scatter-brained class clown; Maggie, the driven, bossy brain who takes over the class; Samantha, the rich, snooty, fashionista; Eric, a shy, quiet writer; and Adam, a good kid who always finds himself in trouble. Here is Adam’s reaction to the realization that Ms. Bryce is gone:

I can do anything – anything at all! – and no one will send me to the principal’s office.
No more being screamed at. No more getting into trouble for no good reason.
A feeling of happiness spreads over me. I feel free.

The students think having no teacher is going to be one big party, and there is certainly plenty of chaos. But eventually the students realize in order to keep the adults in the dark, they’re going to have to learn something. They soon find themselves tasked with writing and performing their own original play about the American Revolution. Through their first-person narratives, readers see how the characters grow as individuals, realize their own talents, and come together as a class to put on a successful show – with a little help from a retired actor who is befriended by Samantha.

The show includes original songs like this one about the Boston Tea Party, to the tune of “You’re a Grand Old Flag” –

It’s a taxed tea bag.
It’s a high-priced tea bag.
It’s a tax we simply can’t afford.
We’ll all scream and shout.
We’ll toss the tea out –
Into the harbor, overboard.

In the end, the students have a greater appreciation for how hard teachers work, and they are willing to welcome any teacher – even the dreaded Ms. Bryce.

Allan Woodrow’s humorous novel and inspiring characters will engage both children and adults. The broad range of themes and topics will captivate students and stimulate families. All readers can learn something from the journeys these characters take and the valuable lessons they learn about themselves along the way.

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