Poor Laura dreads dinner at the Brewsters' house, where "The stillness was so sullen and hateful that Laura could not speak." I am shuddering for her!
It hadn't occurred to me that Laura wanted/needed to continue her own education while she was away from home and her own school, teaching younger children. At least that gave her something to do in the evenings.
How did you feel when Mrs. Brewster started quarreling with her husband, right in the same room as Laura?
"The sound of her voice made Laura feel sick; it was a sound that enjoyed hurting people."
Was I the only one who almost giggled at "hoity-toity slip" though? :)
Laura dreads the weekend with Mrs. Brewster, then scolds herself for whimpering; then at night dreams she is visiting home.
I thought it was sweet how Laura took care of little Ruby, brushing snow off her and helping her with her coat. Must be all those years taking care of her younger sister Carrie!
What did you think of Laura's formal classroom style, calling the room to order, calling reading classes of one student forward, and taking attendance with only five pupils?
What did you think of Laura playing in the snow with the children?
I was surprised Laura could recognize the Wilder horses after just a peep at them through the window - in a blizzard even!
I liked the idea of Laura continuing her studies in the evening. It showed that she was a lifelong learner, and that you're never too old to learn new things! I also thought it was sweet of her to take care of Ruby; I think it helped her relate to her students better (and they to her). As a teacher, that's something you want to strive for -- connecting to your students will help them relate to you and make them more eager to learn. I didn't see a problem with Laura playing in the snow -- she is only 15, after all -- but then I realized that she may have overstepped the boundaries a bit.
As for Laura's classroom style, it was a bit formal, but I liked that she had a routine/structure to her day. I try to do the same with my students. In my classes, I like taking attendance -- even though I am a music teacher and not their homeroom teacher -- so I know who's here. (I also do it in a sing-song way so that I can hear the kids sing "He-re!" back to me so they get a chance to informally sing by themselves.) Laura was just following the routine she had always known for her school years of her life. However, maybe she could have called the first two reading classes together, listened to them recite separately, then call the last reading class up. Live and learn!
Based on this line-"The sound of her voice made Laura feel sick; it was a sound that enjoyed hurting people." I think Mrs. Brewster is a plain evil person. I felt sorry for her son who had to be raised by her. Maybe Mr. Brewster was a counter to her, hopefully, so the boy had a chance.
I hadn't thought about Laura continuing her education either. I was surprised when I read that. Like Kathleen said, she was a lifelong learner and that clearly contributed to who she was a writer, as well.
I thought Laura did a pretty good job with the class and thought it was neat that she also played with them. I can see how it would cause some problems though.
I was excited for Laura when she heard the bells and knew the horses! No spending the weekend with the Brewsters! I can only imagine how hope and excitement welled up within her.