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In Gary Schmidt's novel, The Wednesday Wars, Mrs. Betty Baker is a woman who comes across as an amazing teacher—she has her drawbacks which make her human enough to be believable. Her trait is stepping up to a responsibility or difficulty she may not like, but making the best of it.
We see this trait in the way Mrs. Baker deals with Holling. While she ends up very much involved in Holling's life—supportive of him, seeing his good qualities and taking a real interest in his life...
Her extracurricular activities—taking him to Yankee Stadium and on an architectural tour—make her seem like a guardian angel.
...(characteristics that make her almost too good to be true), it wasn't always this way. Mrs. Baker is not a superhero, but simply a dedicated teacher. Early on, she does not warm up to Holling completely, and her "irritation" with him is obvious. Holling starts his story as follows:
Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun.
Mrs. Baker ascertains that Holling will be coming to her classroom on Wednesdays—because the Jewish and Catholic students attend Hebrew School or Catechism, and he does not.
"You are here with me."
"I guess," I said.
Mrs. Baker looked hard at me. I think she rolled her eyes.
However, things will eventually change for the better, probably most notably when they begin reading Shakespeare on Wednesdays.
While Mrs. Baker is doing her best in the classroom, she is plagued by her own person problems. In learning of these difficulties, we can find the real person behind the professional front she puts on for her students: her husband is fighting overseas in the Vietnam War which causes her a great deal of worry, especially when he is lost and missing in action. However, as noted before, she is someone who takes the difficulties placed in front of her, and does her best to move forward and make the best of it: carrying on with life.
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