Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

My Teacher’s Secret Life

Krensky, Stephen (Author)
Adinolfi, JoAnn (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 1999. 32 pages
First published: 1996
ISBN: 9780689829826 (paperback)
9780689802713 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, dialogue, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This sweet and humorous story portrays a young boy’s careful observations of Mrs. Quirk, his beloved teacher. The language expertly evokes the child-character’s voice. Young readers will relate to his confident knowledge: “Her first name is Isabelle. She bites her lip when she’s thinking hard. And she has eyes in the back of her head in case we try anything funny.”

The illustrations are quirky and sophisticated, combining bright colour with antic movement. They depict the boy’s illusions of after-school life among the teachers: dinner in the cafeteria, bedtime story in the library. Children may recall having similar ideas about teachers, school and the order of things in general. They will certainly enjoy the ripple-throated whistling of the gym teacher, as she leads everyone in evening exercises.

The story offers delicate hints of growing up and gaining perspective, as the boy becomes aware of Mrs. Quirk at the supermarket, the mall, and even at the skate park with a child and a man. All readers will appreciate his need to process this new information slowly: “I know Mrs. Quirk has a secret life. I just wonder when the other teachers will get suspicious.”

  •  

    Discuss what teachers do in their jobs. 

  •  

    Write a story about what happens at school when the teachers are not there. 

  •  

    Write interview questions for one of the teachers in your school to find out about his or her other life. Conduct the interview and share your findings with the class.

  •  

    Discuss the story. Why do you think the boy believes all the teachers live at school? What are some clues to Mrs. Quirk’s secret life? How do the teachers’ names suit them? 

  •  

    Retell the story from Mrs. Quirk’s point of view. 

  •  

    With a partner, write interview questions for one of the teachers in your school to find out about his or her other life. Conduct the interview and share your findings with the class.

  •  

    Retell the story of what happens after school.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship