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Remember Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus? She's an inspirational and red-headed teacher, kind of like Mrs. Rappaport, the fifth grade teacher at P.S. 8. She might be tiny, but she "commanded respect" (3.25), and her students really listen to her. She's also quite sweet, though, and does her best to make Shirley feel welcome when she arrives (4.30), and even giving her extra help after school to assist her in adapting.
Mrs. R is one of those teachers who can turn anything into a lesson, but in the best of ways. So when everyone wants to talk about baseball, she decides to chat about America's pastime, but turns it into a teaching moment. She waxes lyrical about how Jackie Robinson has broken barriers in baseball and America, as well as fought for justice, taking a chance to instill in her students the idea that everyone can make a difference. Goodness knows she does.