The Tardy Teacher

By Dorothy Dreher

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    “My teacher is going to be tardy,” said Cindy to herself as she sat on her front steps, watching teacher after teacher go into the school building. Today was the day that only teachers went to school. Teachers from all over the city were coming to a meeting. But where is my teacher? she wondered.

    She had already seen smiling Miss Green. Now she waved to quiet Mr. Black, and he nodded his head at her.

    “Have you seen Miss Martin yet?” called Mother.

    “No,” replied Cindy. “I think my teacher’s going to be tardy!”

    “Oh, dear,” said Mother.

    Just then the school bell rang loud and long, as it always did at half past eight. A few teachers were still scurrying inside for the meeting. But where’s Miss Martin? Cindy wondered.

    She stood up and walked down to the corner. She could see black cars, green cars, blue cars, tan cars, but she did not see her teacher’s little red car.

    “Miss Martin,” said Cindy in Miss Martin’s you’d-better-listen voice, “Miss Martin, you are TARDY!”

    Just then someone came into sight way down the street. It was Miss Martin running down the sidewalk with some papers in her hand.

    Then just as Miss Martin reached Cindy’s corner she tripped and fell—WHUMPH! It was just what Cindy sometimes did on the playground. She ran to the corner, and there was poor Miss Martin, rubbing her ankle and looking very sad. And her papers were blowing all over the street!

    Cindy hurried to pick them up. One paper went under a parked car. One was stuck on a tree branch. A cat grabbed one paper and was playing with it. Cindy finally gathered all the papers together and ran back to her teacher with them.

    Miss Martin stood up, but the heel had come off one of her shoes. Her stockings were torn, and she began to rub her ankle again.

    “Oh, Cindy,” said Miss Martin. “My car broke down. I have to give a report at the meeting so I started running to make sure I wouldn’t be late, and now look what’s happened.”

    “Here are your papers,” said Cindy. “I’ll help you walk, Miss Martin; you can lean on me.” Cindy felt very important.

    The teacher limped along for a few steps. Then she stopped. “Oh, dear, what am I going to do?” she questioned. “I can’t go to the meeting like this.”

    Miss Martin looked at the heel that had come off her shoe. She looked at her torn stockings. Then she looked at Cindy.

    “Let’s go to my house,” suggested Cindy. “My mom can help. And maybe I can get your heel back on.”

    “I can give you some stockings,” said Cindy’s mother when she saw what had happened.

    Cindy glued the heel back onto Miss Martin’s shoe with some quick-drying cement while Miss Martin changed her stockings. Mother helped Miss Martin put her papers in the right order again. And Cindy offered to help her into the schoolhouse.

    So that’s how Cindy happened to go to the teacher’s meeting. It was a good thing Miss Martin was the last person on the program. She and Cindy arrived just in time!

    Miss Martin’s report was all about good habits.

    “One of the things children must learn is to be on time,” she said at the end of her talk. She looked straight at Cindy and smiled a big smile.

    “That goes for teachers too!” said the tardy teacher.

    Illustrated by Colleen Hinckley