When Teachers Tell Their Stories – Part 3

In Part 2, I talked about language and words, and how the more words a child hears, the better s/he will do in school – in all subject areas.  I told my first-ever story, “The Peanut Man Story”, and how true teacher stories, ‘Jennie Stories’ have become beloved by children.

Part 3
Children like to be scared.  To be exact, they like the anticipation of being scared.  I think that might be why “The Bat Story” is a favorite.

The Bat Story

“It happened like this.”  When I was a little girl, I loved riding my bike. It was red. Every morning after breakfast I’d pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a brown paper bag and hop on my bike for a ride. I’d go to Ritter Park, stop in the Rose Garden, and then head up the long, windy road to Whitaker Hill. That was hard!  Then I’d ride back to the Rose Garden.  When the sky turned pink, and I knew it was time to go home.

One day, after riding my bike, I came home and rode my bike into the driveway.  I remembered what my mother told me,

“Jennie, be sure to put your bike into the garage and put the garage door down.  All the way down.”

Now, there were no garage door openers back then.  Nope.  There was a handle at the bottom of the door.  So, I had to reach way up and pull the door down. But, I had to be careful to hold the handle all the way down, otherwise the door would bounce back up, just a little.  I put my bike in the garage, pulled the garage door down, and did not hold the handle all the way down.

I went inside and my mother asked,

“Jennie, did you put your bike in the garage?”

I shook my head yes.

“Did you put the garage door down?”

I shook my head yes.

“All the way down?”

I shook my head yes.

“Good.  Wash up and get ready for dinner.”

We had dinner.  The whole family always had dinner together.  After dinner I played Go Fish, and then Monopoly.  My brother always wins.  My mother finally said,

“Time for bed.”

I walked to the stairway to head up to my room.  But just as I was ready to go up, I thought I saw something…black…go wooosh.  And then it was gone.  It happened so fast.  I must have been mistaken.

I went upstairs.  That was the second floor.  Then I went upstairs again.  That was the third floor.  My bedroom was on the third floor.  I washed my hands and face, brushed my teeth, and put on my nightgown.  I climbed into bed, pulled up the covers, and turned out the light.  I was tired.  I fell asleep.

This is when I get ‘scared’ as I tell the story. Sometimes I grab the hand of a child.  I breathe hard. You could hear a pin drop.

And then it was 10:00.  And then it was 11:00.  And then, and then…it was midnight. Suddenly I heard the two sounds that I was afraid of, the two sounds I hated more than anything in the world.  One sound went flap, flap, flap, flap.  The other sound went shhhooosh, shhhooosh.

It was a bat!!!

I pulled the covers over my head and yelled, “DAD!”  Two seconds later I heard thump, thump, thump- my dad running up the stairs.  He banged my door open, and jumped in my room holding a tennis racquet.  He went everywhere and swung the racquet.  He bopped the bat.  And…

I lean in, smiling at children like I’m telling a secret.

He was wearing his underwear!

Every child bursts out laughing.  I do, too.  The scary story has turned into a funny story. Throughout, I thump my feet when running up stairs, wave my hands to do bat flapping and soaring, and reach up high to pull down that garage door.

After the story, I always ask, “How did the bat get into the house?”  Of course we talk about the garage door and putting the red bike away.  Often this leads to even more questions and great discussions.

This story and “The Raccoon Story” – stay tuned for Part 4 – are children’s all-time favorites.

Jennie

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Imagination, Inspiration, Nature, storytelling, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to When Teachers Tell Their Stories – Part 3

  1. Opher says:

    Ooooh! The poor bat!!

  2. ksbeth says:

    I love your stories too –

  3. beetleypete says:

    You told it so well, but now I feel sorry for the bat that got whacked with the tennis racquet! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. My new bike was maroon with chrome fenders. I saved for two years and bought it with my own money. I left it on the driveway the first night I had it. It was gone the next morning. I was afraid your story was going in that direction and had to hide my eyes. I liked your story better.

  5. I bet they loved that story!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    That is so funny. My grandkids’ favorite story also involved grandpa running around in his underwear during an earthquake. I love how easily kids can laugh at the thought of their elders in underwear.

  7. I’ll bet you made sure that garage door was properly closed afterwards.

  8. Ritu says:

    Another great story, and it reminds me of when a bat got into our family house in Kenya, when we were there for summer vacation! My cousin and a badminton racquet…!

  9. You tell great stories, Jennie, with such feeling. I was enthralled just like the kids.

  10. A truly shudder-worthy story! (I am terrified of bats.)

  11. Norah says:

    Great story, Jennie. You had us all hanging (unlike the bat) on every word.

  12. Darlene says:

    Oh my, I was scared reading the story. My dad had to rescue me a few times during the night, in his underwear as well. Superheros in underwear!

  13. Ellen says:

    Your story is amusing and scary! I can just picture the children’s faces as your story unfolds. However, dear Miss Jennie, Benjamin would not agree with your Dad’s approach to bat management! He would tell you all about how important bats are to the “echo-stuff” (ecosystem). He would also tell you about one of his favorite books “The Gentleman Bat”. This is a delightful book that I found quite by accident when he was about 3 years old. It was the debut children’s book by Abraham Schroeder and illustrated by Piotr Parda. That book fostered his interest and love of bats, Benjamin still wants a bat house added to my yard’s bird houses and feeders! I must admit that as a child, I too, was terrified of the bats that zoomed and dove at our heads on the late summer nights while sitting outdoors at my Gram’s farm. It was Gram that first told my siblings and myself about the Chinese legend of bats bringing luck and happiness, though I remained somewhat skeptical about those scary creatures being the bearers of happiness or good luck. Her proof supporting the legend has not been forgotten…the Chinese word for bat “fu” sounds identical to the Chinese word for luck “fu”. Thank-you!

    • Jennie says:

      What a delightful comment, Ellen! Benjamin is absolutely right. However, in the heat of the bat moment we tend to loose our sensibilities. You know that from your childhood bat experiences at Gram’s farm, too. “Stella Luna” is my favorite bat book. You and Benjamin probably know that book. I must look up “The Gentleman Bat”. I love the Chinese legend! Thank you, Ellen.

  14. Dan Antion says:

    I remember those doors and the difficulty in getting them down, and latched, This is a great story, Jennie. I love the way you tell it. I can imagine the children being drawn in.

    • Jennie says:

      No garage door opener is a big thing to explain to children. Big arm movements help. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the story, Dan. Yes, the children are completely drawn in. Many thanks!

  15. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you for this wonderful series!

  16. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is part 3 in Jennie’s wonderful series!

  17. I’d be sitting at your feet with the children, listening just as excitedly and holding my breath when you heard the bat. Oh, the suspense! Great story-telling!!!

  18. Ren says:

    Another wonderful sharing and memory jogger. We often got bats in my childhood home. That is where I learned not to fear bats. Dad or mom would catch them and put them into a cage for us to observe, before releasing back into the wild.

    In my adult life, a store I worked at often had bats in the store come morning. I would grab a small towel, put on gloves, climb a ladder to reach them, gently nab them and release outside. People were in awe of this act of mine. But I had learned from a bat expert, that if we hit at the bat and actually kill it, then IF that bat did have rabies, we just spread the disease throughout the vicinity. And most bats do not carry rabies where I come from.

    Thank you again Jenny for a wonderful and injoyable story. I always look forward to more.

  19. Jennie you held me spell bound on the edge of my seat too 🙂 Wonderful Story Jen and Oh to be in you classroom 🙂

  20. I am sure you got the full attention for these stories, Jennie. Even i could only read, i can imagine how silently they listend. Michael

  21. dgkaye says:

    Adults get scared too, lol. That bat surely would have given me a scare. 🙂

  22. How wonderful! Jennie the only thing better than this story is imagining you and the children as you tell it. Hugs on the wing!

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