It’s 8 a.m. and the classroom is in chaos. No one sits quietly with hands folded. No homework sits on their desks waiting to be picked up and graded. No one minds any of the rules. The kids run around, dancing and throwing stuff. Is this every teacher’s nightmare come alive? No, it’s the opening scene from Carroll Middle School’s production of Miss Nelson is Missing!
CMS has hosted over 900 CISD Elementary School students over a two-day period to see the show.
“It was like a mini-field trip,” third grade teacher Polly Patterson said. “The show was outstanding, and the costumes were brilliant.”
Patterson gave thanks to the Dallas Children’s Theatre for the use of their costumes and said it was fun for the teachers to see their former students “all grown up.” The third graders went on about the show for days.
This lively, fast-paced play was based on the first of three classic children’s books written by Harry Allard. Written back in 1977, it follows the antics of some unruly kids in Room 207 and all the torture they had their good-natured teacher endure. When their teacher goes, they find their unruly ways curtailed by a real witch of a substitute. The classroom kids become detectives in order to find and bring back their Miss Nelson who now seems not so bad after all.
Current CMS Theatre Arts teacher Chad McCoy is no stranger to an elementary audience, having taught at Johnson Elementary School for 15 years.
“One of my goals when I stepped into this position was to get my Middle School actors in front of an audience of elementary students,” McCoy said. “I knew we wouldn’t find a more honest audience. If the kids think it’s funny, they are going to laugh out loud hysterically, if they are worried about a character you can see it on their faces.”
Little did McCoy know his “idea” would turn into 20 busloads of students.
“My junior high students got just as much out of it as the audience,” McCoy said. “They are now getting recognized at ball games, and grocery stores, and even have a steady stream of fan mail coming in. It’s nice to see these kids become role models for those kids who may not fit in other areas.”
Cooper, an elementary student from Walnut Grove Elementary School said, “The show was awesome, and the lesson I learned was you have to be respectful to adults.”