Teacher Tamer by Avi Summary Essay



We have all heard of that classic teacher, student situation where the student dislikes the teacher and the teacher mistreats the student.  However, are we always aware of all the conditions? Throughout the text, “Teacher Tamer”, we read about a student (Gregory) and his teacher (Mrs.wessex). Gregory feels that he is being  mistreated by Mrs.Wessex, and when he plots his revenge, he is shocked at what he finds out. The events in the text explicitly convey the theme that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

This theme is explicitly conveyed in several instances. To begin, this theme can be seen in the event where Gregory follows Mrs.Wessex to her house to plant the smoke bombs and stink bombs. He expected her to live a much wealthier life than the one he found out she had. Supporting this, the text explicitly reads, “Only when Mrs. Wessex had gone in did he appraise the house.  The building’s rundown appearance was not what he had expected.  He was not sure why, but he had assumed his teacher was rich.  The apartment house he lived in was in better condition”. This signifies that Gregory was beginning to pity Mrs.Wessex and her lifestyle, disregarding how she treated him.  If Gregory knew about her “rundown” lifestyle before following her home, he might’ve decided not to wreak revenge. Moreover, the text also provides, “It was littered with junk:  bottles, cans, clumps of matted newspapers, an old mattress, even a broken birdcage.  Overhead ran crisscrossing pipes and wires.  So unlike Mrs. Wessex’s desk!”. Based on how Mrs.Wessex acted at school, Gregory assumed that she would live more lavishly and neat. This proves that people may have things about them that you wouldn’t expect.  It can also be drawn from this that you should not make assumptions without knowing all the circumstances. All in all, this theme is first implied when Gregory sees that her home lifestyle was not what he assumed it to be.

Additionally, this theme is also illustrated on page 5 of the text, when Gregory realizes/overhears how Mrs.wessex really feels about him and teaching. Initiating, the author signifies, “Ma, I’ve been teaching for fifteen years.  I have thirty-six kids in my class.  I get lousy pay.  Each year the kids get worse and worse.  Ruder and ruder.  They don’t want to learn.  All they can talk about is sports, movies, and TV.  They can’t even sit still.  They hate me.”. This is significant for the fact that Gregory and his classmates believed that Mrs.wessex enjoyed “torturing” them; when the truth was that Mrs.Wessex felt she was the one being tortured. Restating, Mrs.Wessex was just as sick of the students as they were of her. In addition, the author also contributes, “ It makes the other kids resent him.  But I keep thinking if I pick on him enough the other kids will accept him.  Can you grasp that?  I’m afraid that if the kids turn against him, he’ll want to deny his intelligence.  I want to keep him smart.  That’s what it comes to.  I’m picking on him so he’ll stay smart and amount to something.”. This reveals Mrs.Wessex’s true feelings and the reason why she treats Gregory the way she does. Gregory believed that Mrs.wessex was picking on him for fun, which led him to his revenge. It is evident that the situation would be different if Gregory knew the real reason why Mrs.Wessex treated him/accused him the way she did. Gregory was extremely surprised after hearing this, for it was unexpected. 

To conclude, a theme that can be found throughout the text, “Teacher Tamer”  is the theme that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Restating, Gregory follows Mrs.Wessex back to her house and learns very unexpected information. This information includes that her lifestyle was not as lavish as assumed to be, and that she only picks on Gregory in an attempt to make the other students like him more and resent him less. To culminate, a theme that is explicitly conveyed throughout the text “Teacher Tamer” is : Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.