Laurie Saunders is sitting by herself in the publication office of The GordonGrapevine, Gordon High's school newspaper. Laurie is all alone in the office, much to her irritation.
She's been with the paper for the past three years, and the paper has never once come out on time. Even as the editor, she hasn't been able to change the pattern.
Laurie leaves the office. There's a few minutes left in this period, and she walks over to Mr. Gabondi's extremely boring French class. She looks in the window and starts making faces at her best friend Amy Smith.
Amy can't help giggling like crazy.
Oops. Mr. Gabondi is at the door, looking angry. Luckily, the bell rings before he can yell at her, and Laurie and Amy run off together to their next class.
Cut to Ben Ross. He's a teacher, trying to set up a film projector so he can show his history class a film.
(The sort-of-real events on which this novel is based happened in 1969, before Blue Ray, DVD, and streaming video. It was a sad time, we know.)
Ben is hopeless with anything mechanical. His wife Christy, who teaches music at Gordon High, is the opposite – so he lets her handle the mechanical issues. What a team!
Ben and Christy have both been at Gordon for two years. Ben is probably the most popular teacher there: students like the way he gets so into whatever he's teaching. His excitement rubs off on them, and they actually do their work. (Nudge, nudge, teachers worldwide!).
Teacher Ben uses a lot of creative exercises in his class to get students interested. Maybe he was channeling Shmoop!
Other teachers aren't so thrilled with Ben, though. They think that when he gets older he'll start doing things their way – lots of homework and handouts. They also have a problem with the fact that he doesn't wear a suit and tie to work. And in the end, a couple of them are just jealous of him.
Ben puts the projector aside and glances over the homework papers. Amy Smith and Laurie Saunders have the only A papers. There are lots of B's and C's. Brian Ammon, a quarterback on the football team, and Robert Billings, "the class loser" (1.18), get the two Ds. Wah wah.
When the bell rings and the students come in, Ben asks David Collins to set the projector up for him. David is Laurie's boyfriend, and captain of the football team. Not surprisingly, this guy gets the projector set up easily.
Ben passes out the homework, complaining – for the third time this semester! – that it's too messy.