Lake Geneva woman presents the past
LAKE GENEVA — The best substitute teacher in Christine Brookes' seventh-grade classroom at Lake Geneva Middle School was a woman born in the 16th century who had once been part of the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
Lady Anne Bacon, based on an actual person, was a character Brookes had portrayed — down to the elaborate Elizabethan dress and cultured manners — for seven years at the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Kenosha County. Years ago, while teaching a social studies lesson on the Age of Exploration to her students, Brookes pondered using Lady Bacon to explain the period. So one morning, between classes, she slipped into the school's conference room and changed into costume. Then Lady Bacon regally walked into the classroom.
“I told them their teacher had been called away and I was going to teach the lesson for the day,” Brookes recalled. “Well, they got such a kick out of it, and they were so good.”
She taught them about the queen, court culture, discoveries of the time, and even blended in some Shakespeare.
The next day, when she came back into her classroom as herself, the students peppered her with questions about Lady Bacon. And they enthusiastically repeated what they'd learned the day before.
“They could remember almost everything that I taught,” she said. “And I thought, 'This really works. This is a good thing.'”
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