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The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill

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Dani Meersman

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill

The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill
The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill
Take one to two minutes to figure out what you think the title means and what the poem is going to be about.
While most of us copied letters out of books,
Mrs. Lawrence carved and cleaned her nails.
Now the red and buff cardinals at my back-room window
make me miss her, her room, her hallway,
even the chimney outside
that broke up the sky.

In my memory it is afternoon.
Sun streams in through the door
next to the fire escape where we are lined up
getting our coats on to go out to the playground,
the tether ball, its towering height, the swings.
She tells me to make sure the line
does not move up over the threshold.
That would be dangerous.
So I stand guard at the door.
Somehow it happens
the way things seem to happen when we’re not really looking,
or we are looking, just not the right way.
Kids crush up like cattle, pushing me over the line.

Judy is not a good leader
is all Mrs. Lawrence says.
She says it quietly. Still, everybody hears.
Her arms hang down like sausages.
I hear her every time I fail.

The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill
Repetition and Amplification: misses childhood confidence,not specifically Mrs. Lawerence
Title: Now that you have read the poem, what do you think the title means and what do you think it reveals about the poem?
Simple sentence starts the shift
The poem is a memory the speaker has of her childhood. The event she describes, which was her teacher telling her she wasn't a good leader, has stuck with her throughout her life; the speaker ends the poem with the line, "I hear her every time I fail."
- A big event takes place on the second floor of a school.
- Could have to do with knitting, or weaving.
Connotation: violent and irresponsible
Paraphrase: The speaker describes a memory she has when she was a young girl. She was given a task by her teacher that she was not able to do. Now every time she fails, she thinks of that experience and how the teacher said “Judy is not a good leader."
Connotation:“Judy is not a good leader.” - Failure
-First Stanza: Sad, reflective
-Second Stanza: Narrates her memory
-Third Stanza: Defeated
Theme: Childhood memories can affect the rest of your life. One small incident or event can have a big impact on the person you become. Authority figures heavily influence your thoughts and actions.
Setting: This poem takes place in a small, simple classroom when the speaker was a child.
Shift in tone
remembrance or nostalgia
Shift in tense
symbolic of changing

connotation: failure
By Judy Page Heitzman
Connotation: "carved and cleaned her nails- violent and irresponsible
Schoolroom- small, simple
Second Floor- set apart or set above
Knitting Mill- weaving, cloth (a tapestry or woven cloth can be a metaphor for life with every string symbolizing choices and memories made woven together to form one's life story)


Even the simplest moment can impact the rest of your life. Words have the potential to remain in our thoughts and drastically effect our beliefs.


Words have more power than we realize. With our words, we can take courage from someone, or give courage.

When you criticize; commonly we project our weaknesses onto other people.
not crossing arms (not thoughtful
of what she's saying)
About the Author
Judy Page Heitzman
Born in 1952 and is still living today
From Deansboro, New York
Lives in Marshfield, Massachusetts
Former English Teacher at Duxbury High School
Studied Education at Boston University, Smith College, and Colgate University
Wrote "The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill" in 1992.
Discussion Questions
Why does the author say, "miss her, her room, the hallway" but then say, "I hear her every time I fail?"
What was the purpose of the line, "Mrs. Lawrence carved and cleaned her nails?"
What do you think the purpose of the poem is?
Out of all the childhood memories Heitzman had, why do you think she picked this memory to share?
Full transcript