When I finish a day of teaching, sometimes I have feigned memories of the many astounding wonders my children taught me during our days at school.
Helping children learn is both rewarding and exhausting, and success once around is the main reward. In the process, I try to be aware of how totally sensible children’s errors are. Then I take the time to correct them very gently, enjoying the beauty of their err-words.
The first of a new school year is always a joy as the boredom of summer yields to the finding of new friends.
This year a mother let me in on a conversation that took place when she picked up her son in the car on the first day of school. He said quite excitedly, “I had a real good day. I made three new friends and one new enemy!” Formula sounds about right to me.
When getting acquainted we discussed our likes and dislikes. One girl relished gymnastics but another had no ‘entrance’ in it. Ahem, close to the truth–if you have no interest in something, it might be hard to gain entrance to it.
Have you ever been at a loss for words? Children never are. They always have plenty of words–they just haven’t learned yet what to do with them. We were making sentences with our new spelling words.
The word was “gnaw“. Ideas started popping out of mouths like popcorn: “My brother was nauseated yesterday.” “Naw, don’t do it.” It seemed to be a good day to study the ridiculous silent letters in our language.
English skills have lots of high fallutin’ names that are hard to remember. The other day a gal remarked, “will we be doing any more of those possible pronouns?” Possessives are hard, possibly. . .
At lunch we often discuss happenings of the weekend. One boy went to the country and saw some brahmas with his dad. ” Now he just wanted to know why they call them “brainless”.
I try to make lunch a well-wishing experience. I often say positive comments to the kiddoes as I dismiss them. One day I knew they were already out to lunch when I said, “Have a lice lunch” and no one noticed I had not said nice.
A child asked me if she could go to the breast room. When a friend corrected her, it was explained she must have it confused with dressed room where you try on clothes in a store. (And you wonder if teachers pray?)
Science at times brings great truths about the human body. A sweet little girl showed me a swell drawing of the circular system. Another student shared his knowledge, “Positions call it the circulatory system.” (I guess a person would remember some pretty uncomfortable positions required for going to a physician.)
When reproduction was discussed, one little lady reminisced, “Yeah, I popped out of my mommy’s tummy and I landed in my car seat.” She went on to explain how her family traveled alot when she was “just a kid.” She’s already going on seven now.
Social Studies is fun to teach because it takes us into the outside world around Entire State Building. Years ago, when I was in New York City, they called it the Empire State Building.
It’s easy to mix up movies and the real world. A younger boy noted that Ping Pong could climb real high in a movie, so apes must be strong. Don’t kids learn a lot on TV?
We were hooking up a CD player to hear a song. A helpful lad informed me that we would need one of those extinction corps. I looked around and didn’t see a squad, so I got an extension cord instead.
The song was a Western and one lad asked another what kind of cowboy he’d like to be. The answer was not country, city, or urban, but suburban! The Urban Cowboy reruns had made their mark–almost.
One boy noticed a sign on the school gate which he read to us, “No Trashpassing.” We always closed the gates at night so dogs wouldn’t get in the garbage. When that sign was first put up it said trespassing, but maybe someone changed it so the dogs would learn the rules.
There are lots of little picky things to be conquered in Language class. After two weeks of teaching my heart out about alphabetizing, I cautioned my class, “If two words start alike, be sure to look at the second letter.” (sandwich, soup, spice, etc.)
One student took me a little too seriously. She carefully put ten words in ABC order by the second letter, not to the second letter! (rain, about, across, etc.) Wouldn’t she have fun with the phone book?
By the end of the week we all are ready for those two wonderful days. One boy wants to help his dad work with his toil box (where he keeps his hammer, etc.) A girl says her dad and mom are glider pilots and on weekends they always hope for a terminal (thermal). I wonder if they’ve made their will, just in case.
Another child shares during story writing time that he’s wishing this Saturday’s game will go better than last week’s. His brother got really made at the vampire when he made a batty call–anyone could see it wasn’t fair.
I think this weekend I’ll get out in the crisp fall air. However, considering Halloween will be here in just a few weeks, I think I’ll avoid the local baseball field–just to steer clear of vampires and bats. . .
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission from author for use online or in print.