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Peter Schooff
Machiavelli in Kindergarten

Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     My reason for this letter is to relay an incident that occurred with your boy, Niccolò, today in class. I had to step out of the classroom briefly, so I asked the children to rest their heads on their desks and keep quiet. Upon returning, I found your boy snooping around my desk. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he wanted to know what made me such an effective leader so that one day he could alter the course of history. That's a first for me, Mrs. Machiavelli, and I don't believe it for one second. I think your boy was interested in some homemade biscotti I keep in my top drawer. I think Niccolò needs a lesson in telling the truth and keeping his hands off other people's biscotti.

     Regards,

     Ms. Bertolini

     - - -

 

Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     What an odd little boy your Niccolò is. Just yesterday, as I was reading to the class from the "See Dick Run" series, your mischievous child raised his hand and asked if there were any books where Dick seized power. Later that same day, when I was having trouble with several unruly students, Niccolò suggested that if I disemboweled the most disruptive student, I'd wield absolute power over the classroom. And right after class ended today, Niccolò informed me that, although he didn't think I was a very effective ruler any more, he still liked me. Then he asked if he could have my head if it were ever chopped off. Is everything all right at home, Mrs. Machiavelli?

     Concerned,

     Ms. Bertolini

     - - -

     Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     It was a pleasure to meet you and your husband at the parent-teacher conference last Tuesday evening. I certainly agree with what your husband said, that Niccolò is quite the precocious little statesman. But I do not agree with something your son recently said, though, that politics is just kindergarten with muskets and heavy infantry. And please help your son come up with a more suitable show-and-tell topic than "How to Overthrow Your Kindergarten Teacher." Perhaps little Niccolò needs to be reminded that I am the teacher. That means I am the one in charge and I will not tolerate any overthrowing in my classroom.

<  2  >

     Regards,

     Ms. Bertolini

     - - -

     Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     I greatly preferred your son's show-and-tell topic, "How to Rule the School," although I don't think the children needed to be shown how to impale their enemies on a Judas chair. And please inform Niccolò that no matter how much he begs or pleads or promises me the principal's office, I will not make him hall monitor. I don't care if he already bought the uniform. And tell Niccolò there is no such thing as a hall dictator, and certainly not a supreme hall being. Quite frankly, I overheard your boy telling a friend that to control the hallways is to control the school, and my nerves are already frazzled enough as it is. My decision is final.

     Regards,

     Ms. Bertolini

     - - -

 

Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     Niccolò is quite the crafty little kindergartner. Yesterday, when I was called out of the class during nap time, I returned to discover there had been something of a coup in my absence. Apparently, sweet little Rudolpho was overthrown as hall monitor, and your son installed himself in my absence. I guess I should be thankful it was a bloodless coup, but they sure spilled a lot of milk. I thought I made all hall monitor decisions for my classroom, but Principal Capitani has informed me otherwise. But I can still punish Niccolò, and I want him to write, "I will never, ever disobey Ms. Bertolini again for as long as I live," 3,000 times. Please make sure he has it completed by the beginning of class tomorrow.

     Regards,

     Ms. Bertolini

     - - -

     Dear Mrs. Machiavelli:

     I guess I underestimated your son, Mrs. Machiavelli. One thing's for sure, he certainly deserves an A in political science, and they don't start teaching that until the seventh grade. I am enjoying my time away from teaching, although I must admit I do miss it. I miss the children, mostly. I would like you to know that a strongly disagree with the choice of my replacement. Mr. Sollozzo was the school's janitor, and he knows next to nothing about teaching. I do know that he is close with your son, but Mr. Sollozzo is not a nice man. I really don't see how any learning is going to get done in the classroom. Please tell your boy to enjoy the homemade biscotti that I've enclosed, and if you would be so kind as to ask Niccolò to put in a good word for me with Principal Capitani, it would be greatly appreciated.

<  3  >

     Very Respectfully Yours,

     Ms. Bertolini

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