Teaching can put me in a state of joy and horror. It’s joyful to see children learn. But it’s frightening when the kids give me a glimpse of the enormity of my task.
Aristotle said it all. A student read, “The heavens are unchaining.” Actually I didn’t know the sky was chained up there. Thank goodness for books. But mine says unchanging. Nowadays scientists might argue with that. . . Hey wait, could this mean the Chicken Little was right after all and the sky is falling?
Another day we learned that a small piece of land is an island. The next question was, “What is a large piece of land?” Someone hollered out, “A large piece of land is a consonant.” It seemed like a good day to study 3 syllable words like consonant and continent.
Learning about other states is fun. A guy saw Boulder, Colorado, on a map. He said, “Whew, I bet that place is hard as a rock!” But he stood corrected one second later when the gal next to him said, “No, it’s like I’m bolder than my brother.” Their ideas were so good I kind of hated to interfere with the truth.
Later someone said he would bet that Rhode Island has roads all over it. One kid wondered why the smallest state would have so many roads. In Science that day we found a reason to look at a picture of the hens they call Rhode Island Reds. Maybe tomorrow we’ll study homonyms, starting with road and Rhode.
In the fall we studied how America got started. The workbook asked, “Why do you think Rhode Island filled before Georgia?” Someone piped up with, “It was the Mainflower, of course!” I guess the writer thought kids would understand how people moved around before cars and planes. But it was nice to know the students remembered the Mayflower.
One student wasn’t impressed with Missouri. He called it Misery. It was getting close to lunch time when we discussed the state of Kansas cause one little guy told us of a city called Tapioca. My map said Topeka but what the heck.
Even lunch at the picnic tables can discombobulate me. The students were still thinking of the First Thanksgiving and history. One boy assured us that he was one quart Indian.
We were getting acquainted with a new child in class. I told her I came from Oklahoma just like her. She responded, “I like Oklahoma but I like Spring even better.” Since our school was in Spring, Texas, I was glad to hear that till a guy quipped, “Yeah, but I like Oklahoma in the winter even better.” Sometimes it’s just not worth untangling the brains at lunch time.
Social Studies and Science can sometimes collide with Christmas. A young scholar read, “The farther north you go the shorter the days are.” Instantly a girl added, “Who is Father North?” I guess she remembered the story we had in December about Father Christmas.
Children interpret history in their very own way. But the best came when we had been reading great quotes. One young man opened his arms and burst out, ““Give me liberty or give me breath!”
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