The jackets are all hung and students are busily doing their morning work in our small private school.
Reading can present unique challenges to the mind of a child. One little gal balked and refused to read. Mrs. T finally reached the end of her rope. “You need to read. How will you earn a living when you grow up?” The little gal confidently quipped, “I don’t have to. I’ll just win a lottery!”
One boy really enjoyed a story about a “captain of an island.” His feelings were hurt when he realized it was really only a captive.
The study of Spelling can be even worse. The students put a heading on the page before writing the assignment with their words. A young scholar new to our class carefully wrote in the section where they usually put the teacher’s name, “tea sure” since he didn’t know how to spell her name yet.
The whole class had many different ways of not knowing how to do things. We read about several styles of learning. One student claimed he preferred sublingual learning. I had always thought subliminal learning was done while you sleep, perhaps under the pillow. But this student must be interested in food since he prefers learning under the tongue!
At lunch a child asked me when the important cards would be going home. I was glad to know that he realized report cards were important. (I was relieved to know that he didn’t think they were impotent.)
Science fascinates most kids. I asked, “What falls from an oak tree?” An astute young lady answered, “an acorn” and I was proud. But before I could even command my tongue to brag another child added, “We have an acre at our house too.” Teacher training didn’t actually prepare me for what to say next. (Maybe it’s time to study measurement in math class.)
Everyone was alert the day we studied spelunking. They were so captivated by the pictures and stories which infiltrated into the whole day’s curriculum. But one astute guy just couldn’t understand why they named one cavern Carlsbad. He thought it should have been named Carl’s Good Cavern!
Social Studies can include some challenging vocabulary, so one fine day we were taking turns reading from a chapter in the textbook. The boy read, “He was in the celery of the Church of England.” Voices exploded from all directions: “The church got a salary!?” Another kid stopped to carefully sound out the word clergy. We even made parking signs in art that week which said Reserved for Clergy to help the students get that word clear.
On Library Day one lad spotted a book about how America took a long time to finish its Constipation. At that he took a deep breath and let out a good Texas whistle, letting me know he knew what that meant. Or did he? In my day we called it the Constitution.
One bright day a very neat and exacting girl commented, “Our school needs a new rug mower.” I had to explain the cleaning guy had missed coming so the vacuum cleaner was still hiding in the closet.
Words can really tie up your brain. In our study of the world we read that Nigeria was still untied. A student explained that in America that word was pronounced United. I was relieved to know I didn’t live in the Untied States!
My husband has always been very understanding of my sometimes misadventures of teaching. However, he gave me a puzzled look at what I said one night after supper. I requested, “Let’s go to bed early tonight. I’m really tired. I need to try out the method one of my students uses. So I need you to snore me to sleep!”
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.