The Substitute Teacher by Emma Foster

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) by Lee at Gatorland

The Substitute Teacher

~ by Emma Foster

Once there was an elementary school in the middle of Florida. The third grade class of that school had a class pet parrot named Beatrice. Every day, Beatrice would sit and watch as the teacher, Miss Kendall, taught the class. During recess, however, Beatrice would sneak over to the teacher’s desk and read over all of the material. She wanted to not only know what was being taught, but also wanted to know how to teach it to the class.

Beatrice wanted to be sure that she knew everything for Thursday. This was because Miss Kendall was going to be gone on Thursday and Friday for jury duty, and Beatrice was chosen by the school board to teach the class because she was the only one who knew the material so well.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

On Thursday, when all of the third grade class entered into the classroom, they were surprised to find that Miss Kendall wasn’t there. Instead, Beatrice was sitting on top of her desk. Each of the students sat down and waited as Beatrice called the role. After she finished, Beatrice had the class say the pledge of allegiance like they did every morning, and she whistled the “Star Spangled Banner” along with the class afterwards.

Because Beatrice was a parrot, she was able to explain to the class why she was substituting for the day, and moved onto the first subject of the day: reading. Beatrice had the entire class read a few pages in the book they were supposed to read for a book report. During that time, Beatrice read over all that she had to do that day. The next subject was penmanship. This was the tricky part because Beatrice had to use her talons. She was able to shakily write the first few letters of the alphabet on the board. The class did much better than she did.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Blue-and-yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) ©WikiC

Finally it was time for lunch. Beatrice made sure all of the class stayed in a line as they walked down to the cafeteria. She brought along the crackers Miss Kendall kept in her desk for her and ate them there. When lunch was over, Beatrice let all of the third grade class go outside to the playground. She climbed the monkey bars upside down; the class considered this the best part of the day so far.

Blue-and-yellow Macaw by Dan at Gatorland

Then Beatrice and the class came back inside for science. This week was Botany. Because Beatrice used to live in the Amazon before coming to America to become the class pet, she was able to tell them all about the different plants in the jungle.

The last subject of the day was math. This was the students’ least favorite subject. Fortunately, the best Beatrice could do when it came to math was count to five, so it was going to be difficult teaching the class anything. The students didn’t mind, however. Beatrice would have to explain to Miss Kendall that they didn’t get much done.

When the class was dismissed they all told their parents when their parents picked them up how much fun they had, and Beatrice believed she had done a good job. She had the feeling that when she taught tomorrow it would be even better than the first day. And when Miss Kendall returned, she was surprised when the entire class asked if she could repeat jury duty again next week.

Lee’s Addition:

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?’ (Job 35:11 NKJV)

Thanks, Emma, for another delightful story. Birds are very capable of teaching us about their great Creator. Maybe not quite in a classroom like Beatrice, but still, they can be teachers to humans. Those who study birds and other animals, can see the Hand of God at work, if their eyes are open.

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:9-10 KJV)


See more of Emma’s delightful stories


Wordless Toucan



2 thoughts on “The Substitute Teacher by Emma Foster

  1. Emma, what a thoroughly delightful story of Beatrice. I would have loved to have had a substitute teacher like Beatrice. And I would have loved to hear her whistle the “Star Spangled Banner”. You have a great imagination and we benefit from it and the lessons they teach including using our imagination in such a fun way. Keep writing! You would be a good writer for children’s books — and I must say I love to read children’s books even tho I’m an adult. I sometimes think children books should not be labeled as such as so many adults love them. Thanks again Emma!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After that delightful adventure, it would be nice if Miss Kendall would be recalled for more jury duty! What a splendid opportunity the schoolchildren had to study under a teaching parrot! When I was in 3rd grade I got in trouble for using rude words to a boy whom I argued with. The teacher asked me if I thought that the Lord Jesus would like to hear me talking like that — and I knew the answer was “no”. (And that was in a public school!) Then she reminded me of the obvious, that the Lord heard every word that I said; even more, He knew every word that I was thinking inside my heart! Ever since 3rd grade I have been learning to take words more seriously — they should be used with care, and to honor the Lord (James 3:2-13). However, when we use verbal creativity, with wholesome content — as you (Emma) have — we are displaying that we are made in God’s image, because one of His most important character traits is His wholesome creativity. So this delightful tale of Beatrice, the class pet, who pinch-hit for Miss Kendall (as the Substitute Teacher), is a creative and careful usage of words, illustrating our Creator’s colorful sense of humor and love for children — and even for parrots. One more thought — like Beatrice, I try to avoid trying to do math in public — it can be so embarrassing! (That shows that we all have both strengths and weaknesses!) Thanks, Emma, for this entertaining report.

    Liked by 1 person

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