Laura is back at the Brewsters', where Mrs. Brewster is in a funk and letting the housework go. "The silence was so loud that Laura could hardly study."
I wish Mrs. Brewster wasn't so rude to her child and Laura, but I can sort of sympathize - I wouldn't have enjoyed the realities of pioneer life and I would have wanted to move back to the settled, way more convenient East too! How about you?
In the schoolhouse, the children are cranky and quarreling and testing Laura's patience. "How she wished that she were big enough to give Clarence the whipping he deserved."
Suddenly she remembers her former teacher Miss Wilder who could also not keep discipline in class, and has empathy for her finally. The children get treated to the spitfire side of Laura - who else was cheering her on?
Poor mortified Laura, when a student announces loudly "Teacher's beau is here!" and she thinks Almanzo must have heard!
I find myself wondering if Almanzo drives her home and back all eight weeks of her teaching stint!
As a teacher who's had to deal with various mischief from students, I was happy to see Laura come out on top and find a way to get through to her students. It's probably a lot easier to do that when there's only 5 of them (as opposed to 25-30). I think I'll try some reverse psychology on my students next year...
I think Mrs. Brewster was awful. I remember reading Ma wasn't always happy about moving, especially moving away from family and concern with having her children attend school. Yet she didn't have a sour outlook, and nor did she mistreat her family.
I liked when Laura reacted to the defiant behavior of the students, as well. When Almanzo picked her up, Laura said nothing about Clarence. I had to ponder the phrase, "Least said, soonest mended." I think there's a lot of truth in that. It may not be an appropriate application 100% of the time, but this approach would be best utilized much more than what many of us do in our practices of "venting."