The alarm rings and I must get to school. I grab some college cheese to eat on the run as I down my coffee. In our small private school the children teach me many things:
Since Reading is so vital to learning, we do it early in the day. The students were happy since it was Library Day. One boy checked out a book about The Inedible Hulk. I wouldn’t eat an incredible green monster either.
One little gal told us that Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Sockland. I didn’t even know there was a town named Sockland in Scotland. A little guy enjoyed reading The Gingerbread Man. Then he asked, “Are gingerbread cookies made out of little gingerbread boys?” Wow, kids can really ask hard questions!
Part of learning to read involves Phonics. One distressed child begged me not to say so much about the owls. “Short owls, long owls, how will I ever keep them straight? Maybe we’ll cover consonants next and move on to vowels again after that.
Spelling presents challenges for many children and adults alike. The students were writing a sentence with each of their words. One paper said, “My feet are sorry from running too much.” I’d be sore about that too.
Science never fails to fascinate my students. We learned about blue gas whales. I told the class a story about a beluga whale that looked like it was smiling at Sea World. Some guys like to be tough so they were interested in bold eagles.
But a girl got upset when we read that humus was decayed matter in the soil. She said, My mom had us dip our carrots in it Saturday!” I like dipping my veggies in hummus also.
Dyslexia hits many of us some or all of the time. We were learning to write directions, and one dignified young lad wrote, “Use the cleaner to scrub the _u_.” (He meant to write tub, but reversed the letters. I didn’t read it that way aloud because spelling isn’t everything in the computer age.)
We finished our morning just in time to have a song before lunch. A spunky gal made a request, “Let’s sing Get Along Little Froggies!” so we did, kinda.
The students love eating lunch in the sideyard under the trees. On Monday one girl was mad about her television experience on Saturday morning. She whined, “Everyone knows I hate tests. But they put a TEST on TV Saturday. No way were they going to get me to take a test on the weekend! I just turned it off and left the room. I was furious!” I guess they do the Emergency Broadcasting test on her station too.
Then a boy told about having a babysitter on Saturday night and waking up the next morning to see his “mom had big cycles under her eyes.” It’s working, not weekends, that give me circles under my eyes!
Maybe that day’s lunch could have been rated as a bit more mature when a little guy told us his folks were “on a trip to Virgin, or Vergina, or something like that.” I wondered if it was a pilgrimage to the Mother Mary or a second honeymoon? Since I wasn’t sure I changed the subject.
Social Studies class usually teaches about Native Americans. A kid was looking at a picture of American Indians dancing. She said, “That’s their wash up.” Another child cut in with, “No, when they worship at church they are getting their souls clean!” Made sense to me.
Children sometimes enjoy coloring and labeling maps. A young scholar asked, “What color should the Proficient Ocean be?” She was corrected by someone yelling out “Profishin” before I could say Pacific. A very smart kid suggested, “We could insult the map.” We consulted it just in case.
Math livens up our afternoon since the students love working as a team. Bragging on students as I walked around the room, I saw a pair of guys intently focusing on their assignment. The first guy proudly said, “I do all the adding and he does all the traction, cause traction is really bad.”
Maybe tomorrow we’ll review how subtraction and submarine both start with sub, just to be clear on how to pronounce subtraction. It’s just too crowded in my classroom to have kids in traction during math.
I always take a little time each day for character development since I contend that I’m teaching children, not subjects. We were discussing how it was OK to keep a good secret, but how bad secrets should always be shared with someone who can be trusted.
One little lad explained the difference between secrets and lies. I used the example, “Your hand is purple” as an example of a little white lie. Then I explained how that might be a joke, but “We don’t tell bad lies.”
But the sweetest moment of all was when he patted me on my arm tenderly and said, “Yeah, we only tell nice lies.”
My work here is done.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.