Why I hate Sarah Morton

Yeah, you know the one.

You know that annoying girl from that Pilgrim book that every primary teacher reads at Thanksgiving?

I hate her (and all her Pilgrim ways).

And here's why:

Once upon a time, I taught first grade.  I can't say that I'll never go back since I had many adorable, wonderful memories from that year. 

But I also experienced a grave disaster - at the hand of Sarah Morton.

One sunny, fall afternoon, in accordance with my team's well-laid plans, I cozied into my read-aloud chair in preparation for my daily Social Studies lesson.

The teaching objective? Discussing how our life today compares with the lives of Pilgrim children.

The vehicle for said objective? Sarah Morton's Day.

The story began without incident.  We enjoyed reading about her chores (like churning butter), and the life-like pictures really brought the time period to life.  My tiny firsties stared up at me with delight!

"I am an amazing teacher." I thought to myself, reading on.

But... it started to take a turn for the worse when I read the word "perchance" which led to a sea of confusion... Then I read the page about Sarah practicing her "verses".  (This was uncomfortable as I teach at a public school.)

"What are verses?" My sweet girl, ever-attentive, called out.

"They're um... well... they're like..." I quickly scanned my mind for some kind of secular answer. "They're what they used to practice to learn reading...um...."Let's keep reading about Sarah!!" I shouted a bit too enthusiastically.

Nervously, I continued the story, which went a little something like this:

I sit at dinner on the stool my Papa made me.  I want to tell my mom something but did not speak out of turn for fear I may get the rod.

Me in my mind: THE ROD!?! I just read to a group of 20 first graders that the Pilgrim Girl might get the ROD??!?!

Please don't anyone say anything... please don't anyone say anything... please don't.say....

"What's a RAWD?" Sweet girl innocently asks.  The firsties begin to chatter, offering each other half-nonsensical inferences about the book.

I begin (yet again) stumbling for some kind of non-abusive explanation. "Well, it's like.... um..." I begin to glance awkwardly around the room for some kind of something to save me.  Something! Anything! WHAT KIND OF SOMETHING IN MY CLASSROOM CAN EXPLAIN WHAT A ROD IS??? "Umm..... Umm..."

And then it happened.  My smartie boy, clearing noticing my struggle and assuming I must not KNOW what a rod is, states for all, "It's when you get spanked with a pole."

Oh... crap...

"Spanked with a pole?"   "A pole?"   "My mom spanked me once when I crossed the street..."  The first grade chaos ensued.

"Weeeeeelllllll!" I shout above them, my voice shaking.  "You know... it's not like a BIG pole.  It's like... like... (looking around the room frantically) ... it's like a... a...  

FLAG pole!"

Oh.... now I've done it.

The glared at me, rightfully confused.

But I couldn't stop.  I dug deeper.  "But you know, boys and girls, that doesn't mean that all Pilgrim Children were spanked with rods... you know, some Pilgrim families maybe didn't do that... just like now, every family's different!!!!" I smiled and pushed out a nervous laugh.

"Let's keep reading!"  Yes, like a lunatic, I pressed on. Though I didn't stop for comments again.  We finished the story. Everyone was happy. And when we finally got to our brainstorm graphic organizer, I was sure the storm had passed.

"Now tell me, girls and boys, what are some ways that Sarah Morton's life was different than your life." I smiled.  (I needed this graphic organizer for their Pilgrim books, shameless, I know.)

"They had to work on farms!" "They had handmade dolls!"

I recorded the answers on the anchor chart as my dutiful firsties copied my words.

"They got spanked with rods!" My smartie yelled out.

Then I did it.

Worried that I'd crush my young friend's contribution efforts,

I. wrote. it. down. ----

And. they. copied. it.

"They got spanked with rods."

Oh, Lord, help me NOW!

Just then it was time for recess.  I collected the papers, ripped them up, and tossed them into the recycle bin.

Sarah Morton, I say!  Nothing but trouble.  No wonder she got spanked with a rod!

You can click the picture to grab the freebie graphic organizer mentioned in this post.

... if you dare.

PS: When I reported this mishap to my team, they kindly let me know they don't actually read the book.  They just look at the pictures.

Um. Thanks.


  1. oh my, Kate…Oh MY! I got a kick out of reading your post. So no more Sarah Morton I take it…pictures only right. :)

    Ms. Hutten’s Buttons

  2. ahahaha... Never heard of dear old Sarah Morton. BUT now every time I talk about the lives of pilgrim children with my class - I will be envisioning that rod and hearing the sad, fearful voice of Sarah!

    I hope you threatened your dear team with that rod for not clueing you in haha... :D

    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

  3. hahaha....out of the mouth of babes! I'm sorry, my friend...
    ♥ Jen
    The Teacher's Cauldron

  4. I'm wondering if my parents knew (or were kin to) Sarah Morton's folks - ha! I got plenty of switch, belt, wooden spoon and other spankings, but the times have changed, haven't they. Thank you for a good chuckle this morning!

    The Corner On Character

  5. Yikes! I just bought this book for my class. Maybe we won't be reading it out loud...

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  6. Oh my word, I'm laughing! I've seen that book in tons of classrooms and now I'll never look at it the same!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher
    Endless Pinabilities!

  7. Funny story! I learned the hard way too to only read bits and pieces. Send me an email and I'll send you my subject or predicate shazam game. peschaff@bresnan.net
    2B Honey Bunch
    Honey Bunch Blog Design
    The Best Endings

  8. I don't think I'd ever share the book again if that happened to me! I must just share the pictures because I don't remember those parts of the book. Yikes!

  9. I have never read this book, and probably never will. The same thing would have happened to me last year or maybe it would've been worse. I am going to laugh about this tomorrow when I share your story at lunch. lOL

  10. LOL! That's hilarious! Thanks, I needed to smile! :)

    Teach On.

  11. Hahhahahha again!!! I totally did the collect and recycle trick to my class one day…but of course in the recycle bin clear across the hall and make sure it's under lots of papers so no one accidentally finds them ;)


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