( Intermediate Level )
Mrs. Margaret Broomfield was known as the most caring teacher at Public School Number Nineteen. She taught second grade for over twenty two years. Each school year, when a student was in need of something, she made it a point to help them without making it a big deal out of it.
For many years she bought backpacks, crayons, winter coats or even shoes for her students using her own money. She was the epitome of what people describe as a kind and generous person.
This year turned out to be a little different. Mrs. Broomfield had come down with pneumonia and she missed a lot of school. It had taken her quite a bit of time to recover.
Her students missed her even though their long term substitute teacher was wonderful. She wasn’t Mrs. Broomfield. Raymond missed her more than anyone had realized. He had lost his grandmother a year ago and he became attached to Mrs. Broomfield’s wonderful motherly demeanor.
Thanksgiving came and went and still Raymond’s teacher hadn’t returned to work. Raymond had become very quiet in class. He had always been very eager to participate and answer questions but now he was quite the opposite.
Miss Sally, the substitute, talked with Mrs. Broomfield often keeping her up to date with her students. She had mentioned Raymond’s behavior and this bothered Mrs. Broomfield. She knew he was a sensitive little one.
“Tell Raymond that I am on the mend and should be back to school soon. Until then I want him to keep an eye on things and to be your helper.”
Sally smiled and thought this was a fantastic idea. Keeping his mind busy would be a great thing especially with Christmas coming up. “I will tell him on Monday morning.” They hung up the phone with one another until Monday evening for a new update.
Monday morning came and Miss Sally had asked to speak to Raymond. His classmates thought for sure he was in trouble and you heard them chant, “Oh, Raymond is in trouble. Raymond is in trouble.” Miss Sally quickly shushed them.
Raymond looked at Miss Sally as she sat at her desk, “I talked with Mrs. Broomfield on Friday and she is asking a special favor from you. She would like you to help me as you had helped her. She is hoping to be back at school very soon until then you will be my special helper.”
Raymond smiled with delight. He accepted the new role as Miss Sally’s helper and he said, “I will do my best. Tell Mrs. Broomfield to hurry back until then I will help you as much as I can.”
That evening Raymond couldn’t wait to tell his parents of his new role in the classroom. “If you think of Miss Sally being the president then I would be the Vice President” His dad chuckled. “This is a very important job, you know. I know you will do good as the Vice President.“
For the next few weeks Raymond and his classmates had one thing on their mind. With almost three weeks for their winter break from school and Christmas which was right around the corner, their excitement grew.
Mrs. Broomfield was told by her doctor she would be able to return to work just after the break. Miss Sally had shared the fantastic news with the students.
“I will miss all of you,” she said. Especially you Raymond. You have been such a great help to me but I know you are all anxious to have Mrs. Broomfield back.”
Raymond stayed behind as the others headed to the lunch room. He wanted to talk with Miss Sally about his special gift for his teacher.
Miss Sally. Can I ask you for a favor?” Raymond’s face was serious. “Of course you can. What is it Raymond? Raymond drew in his breath and began. “Every year Mrs. Brookfield takes care of us. If we ever need anything then we can ask her. If she is able she gets what we need.” Miss Sally had heard this about his teacher.
“So what exactly do you want me to do? Raymond quickly ran over to his backpack which was on a hook by the door. He pulled out his piggybank and returned to Miss Sally.
“I have been saving my money for a long time and I want you to take it and buy Mrs. Broomfield a Christmas tree. I know she wasn’t able to get her own this year. she cannot have a Christmas without a tree.”
Miss Sally sat there absorbing Raymond’s words. At age eight he showed her the true meaning of Christmas. He could have asked for dozens of things but instead he thought of his teacher.
“I think that is a fantastic idea. Let go one step further and the class can make all of the decorations and you can make the special star that sits on the top. I will deliver it on Friday.”
He hugged Miss Sally. “ I will miss you too.” He turned and ran towards the cafeteria with a huge smile on his face. He couldn’t wait to share the news with his classmates and tell his parents what he decided all on his own.
In class the next day the students busied themselves making decorations for their teacher’s tree. Miss Sally would go out that evening to purchase a small tree since Margaret’s apartment was small. She would bring it to class so the children could see it .
Raymond made the star for the top. He carefully glued sparkles all over it so the light on the trees would make it shimmer. He was proud of his masterpiece.
At the end of the day Miss Sally collected all the ornaments the children made. They even made a very long paper garland made of green and red construction paper. They felt it would add the perfect touch.
She promised the students she would deliver everything tonight. It was the last day of school and it was Miss Sally’s last day teaching their class. Each student hugged her as they left for winter break.
Sally knocked on Margaret’s door about six that evening. She carried a box of homemade ornaments in one hand and a small live tree in the other. “What’s all this,?” as she helped Sally with the box..
“All of this is from your students. It was Raymond’s idea. He wanted me to buy you a tree. He said Christmas isn’t Christmas without a tree.”
“He is so kind and I will miss that little one.” Margaret sat down on her sofa going though all the ornaments and reading the messages on the back.
The two women set the tree up and decorated it with all the student’s ornaments. Sally’s contribution was a string of holiday lights that glowed red, green and white.
Margaret stepped back and looked at the final product. She wanted to take pictures so she could show her students after break. “Wait. I have one more special thing from Raymond.” She went to her coat pocket and carefully unwrapped his shiny star for the top.
Sally handed it to Margaret so she had the honors of placing this precious star on the top. Both stood back in admiration. Not only for what the children made but what they did out of love for their teacher.
Tons of pictures were taken by both. Sally, so she could remember the students and Margaret so she can share them once she returned to school. They sat in silence, drinking coffee and eating sugar cookies while they looked at the tree. To each of them the tree stood for something but one thing they both agreed on, the tree stood for more than just a tree.
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making it a big deal out of it – idiom: to treat (something) as very important or too important
epitome – noun: a perfect example of a particular quality or type
generous – adjective: showing kindness toward others
demeanor – noun: outward behavior
eager -adjective: wanting to do or have something very much
sensitive – adjective: quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences
on the mend – idiom: improving in health or condition; recovering
delight – noun : great pleasure
fantastic – adjective: extraordinarily good
absorbing – adjective: intensely interesting
cafeteria – noun: dining room in a school or a business
shimmer – verb: shine with a soft light
Question ( s ):
What is the definition of Christmas for you?