Opening Activity

Think of an instance in which your desire to help someone seemed to get in the way of that person being helped. What was the situation, and how did you come to realize that you were not in fact providing the help you wanted to provide?

Discussion Questions

  1. What does Miss Price know about Vincent Sabella at the beginning of the story?
  2. Why might a "less dedicated or less imaginative" teacher have asked for more details about Vincent?
  3. What does Miss Price want to do with/for Vincent? How does she go about this?
  4. What do the other children in the classroom know about Vincent? What do they think of him?
  5. How does Miss Price see herself as a teacher? What, if anything, does her behavior towards Vincent have to do with how she sees herself? Does it matter why she acts as she does?
  6. What role does pity play in teaching and teacher/student relationships?
  7. What role does friendship play in teaching and teacher/student relationships?
  8. Why is it "lucky" Miss Price stands up when she does after talking with Vincent at lunch?
  9. What does it mean that if Vincent Sabella had "thrown his arms around her and buried his face in the warm gray flannel of her lap" that it "might have been enough to confuse the most dedicated and imaginative of teachers"?
  10. Why does Vincent tell the story he does to the class during his Monday morning report?
  11. Why does Vincent draw the picture of Miss Price at the end?
  12. Why does Vincent vomit after Miss Price talks to him at lunch?
  13. Did your feelings about Vincent change at all as you read the story? If so, how and when?
  14. What does Miss Price know about Vincent Sabella at the end of the story? What does Vincent Sabella know about Miss Price?
  15. Why does the story end where it does?
  16. What, if anything, has Miss Price given/provided for Vincent by the end of the story?
  17. Should Miss Price have adjusted her interactions with Vincent at any point? If so, when and how should they have been adjusted?
  18. In your own interactions with students, how do you know when your attempts to help them are fruitful?

Closing Activity

How does Miss Price respond when she sees the drawing?

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