I just love this book! I found it this year, and I will use in my classroom every year from now on. It is the perfect book for outlining classroom expectations, and it makes the topic fun and engaging for the students.
The story, My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not!), is told from a young, elementary boy’s perspective. The boy is named Robert, and no matter what Robert does, he always seems to get in trouble. To Robert, every little move he makes seems to warrant extreme yelling and tantrums for his monster-like teacher, Ms. Kirby. Ms. Kirby seems to be especially monstrous when Robert tries to throw a harmless, little paper airplane.
On a nice Saturday morning, our frustrated Robert decides to spend a quiet day in the park. He feels a nice day playing in the fresh air would be the perfect solution to his teacher problems. To his horror, he runs into Ms. Kirby at the park, and she is in her full monster form.
Never-the-less, the two start to spend some 1:1 time together at the park. Slowly, but surely, Robert notices some non-monster-like qualities emerging from Ms. Kirby. The day continues and more and more Ms. Kirby starts to become less of a monster and more like a human.
To go along with Robert’s changing views of his teacher, Peter Brown modifies his illustrations of Ms. Kirby throughout the story. Let me tell you, the modification of Ms. Kirby as Robert changes his opinions of her is my absolute favorite part of the story. At the beginning of the book, Ms. Kirby is depicted in her full monster form. Throughout the story, the illustrations of Ms. Kirby start to transform from monster-like to more human-like. This represents Roberts changing opinion of his teacher. In the end, Ms. Kirby is no longer a monster, and she ends the book in her full human form.
When I utilize this book in my classroom, I brainstorm with my students what make a teacher a “monster.” On a large piece of paper, my class and I create an anchor chart of behaviors that frustrate and challenge a teacher. After we talk about what behaviors make a teacher become a monster, we then switch the topic to brainstorm what behaviors make students monsters at each other. From there, we all share out the number one thing that makes us monsters at school. This activity is great because, in the end, everyone realizes that we all have similar things that frustrate us.