Study Guide

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Education

By Louis Sachar


"School just speeds things up," said Mrs. Jewls. "Without school, it might take another seventy years before you wake up and are able to count." (2.59)

Here's Mrs. Jewls's excellent answer to Joe's question—what is Joe doing in school if it doesn't seem to be helping him learn to count? Mrs. Jewls says a very wise thing, which is basically: imagine how long it would take to learn things if you didn't go to school…

Mrs. Jewls said that a lot of people learn best when they stare out a window. (3.2)

Mrs. Jewls seems to know that different kids learn in different ways, which is great in theory, although we think she might be a tad too forgiving in Sharie's case. Sharie isn't learning—she's just sleeping.

"Without light I can't teach, and the children can't learn. Only you can give us that light. I think it is a very important job." (8.8)

The class president on the thirtieth floor has one job: turning on the light every day. Mrs. Jewls phrases it very poetically here—even though she can't seem to let someone else turn on the light if the president isn't available.

Mrs. Jewls said, "John, you can't go on reading like this. You can't spend the rest of your life turning your books upside down." "Why not?" asked John. "Because I said so," said Mrs. Jewls. (17.5-7)

What kid hasn't heard because I said so from an adult? Sometimes in education you just have to trust your teachers because they have your best interests at heart—and this is definitely true when it comes to John learning to read right-side up.

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