The Great Zabski

When my son was in seventh grade, he had a less than stellar English class experience learning-wise and personailty-wise. I despaired that that would change with the next person. Then Miss Z came along in grade 8. She was unusual. She was laid back, young, and a little disorganized. I thought, “Oh, crap.”

But, man was I wrong.

She did something right because in the third month of school she had my son and his classmates who were the members of ‘that class’  ( you know-the one all the teachers roll their eyes about when they are mentioned or the ones that make teachers break out the Chablis after work on a week night?) saying things like, and I swear I am not making this up……

“I can’t watch tv, I have to write.”

“I’m not going to the movies, I have to write.”

“No thanks, I don’t want to do ___, I’m going to write.”

All this was because of her and NaNoWriMo-National Novel Writing

She challenged them to write 10,000 pages and they were cranking! We parents were standing downstairs in our respective living rooms with our mouths hanging open wondering what this woman’s secret was.

And the magic continued. In February, we were on a family vacation and stopped in a bookstore. Everybody was getting something new. Our son, Mrs. Z’s student, bought her the poem written and read for the inauguration of President Obama because he knew she liked it. I was blown away. He didn’t have a crush on her-he respected and admired her.


She invited me in one day to observe and they were reading Karen Hesse’s Witness. These kids were having heavy-duty sophisticated conversations with each other that once again left me speechless. I was used to the average age of these knuckleheads to be about 6 when I was driving them to this or that and here they were using literary terms and getting all book clubbish.

Mrs. Z broke all our hearts when she announced she was leaving to go be mommy fulltime.  We wept. We begged. We groveled. We had absolutely no dignity and we did not care. She left anyway.

(pregnant pause)

But, I found her on Facebook and hired her to tutor that same kid who is now a junior and his little sister who is in grade school. She’s available in the evening and they could use a little extra boost. So I feel as though they get a little of the magic Mrs. Z dust and a little goes a long way.


About Deb Beaupre

I am a teacher and a mother who loves to read and hates to exercise but must. I live in the boonies and have three athletic kids and a cat and a horse.I touch neither. I grow flowers, not food. I am from Boston and so nobody understands what I say but that's okay, because no one around here talks much anyhow. Things I have done I never expected to do:own a horse and be asked to help catch a runaway cow. Thing I will never do: deliver a baby lamb.

One response to “The Great Zabski”

  1. Meg Petersen says :

    Hey, I know this teacher because she was in the National Writing Project in New Hampshire. Please tell her hi from Meg, and let her convince you that you should come to the writing project too.


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