Of These My Children: A Day in the Salt Mines

Sometimes we forget that children are traveling through life as newcomers. They bring some of their concerns to school. One child asked, “Why do they call movies “Notion pictures?” Whoever said communication was complicated told the truth!

The study of the English language presents many challenges. I was teaching about a simplified rule of mine as we studied Subjects and Predicates. We were having such a good time as I shared what I thought was an easy version I concocted for younger grammarians, “The predicate is the verb and everything after.”

Now, to absorb the coming shock, you should know that yesterday we had learned that many verbs were action words. One kid seemed to catch on quickly and yelled, “Yeah, it has the action. That’s why they call it the Predator!” 

Hmm, some subjects are like ink — they can run together. Like English and Science was doing in this child’s brain:-)

Since it was Monday, when Spelling time came we usually put our list in ABC order. The students knew I always welcomed help in the task of teaching, so one knowledgable fellow reiterated, “You know, ABC Ordinance.” I wondered if he meant ordinance like a law or ordnance like in war. But right away another young scholar clarified: “No, it’s ABC Orderly.” I just might need an orderly to help me get out of this one!

On the way home one boy, after seeing a TV program about a guy who lost his job, chimed in with, “I got fired from school today.”  His dad quickly came back with, “Well, I’ll talk to your teacher and try to get you hired back by Monday.”

Lunch brings many stories of life through the eyes of a child. One day the kids were talking about music. Several had seen the commercial where the lady’s voice was so strong it broke a glass. Another guy responded, “Boy, I bet a burglar would like to have that voice.”  You can never tell what goes through those little heads!

The children just love when we learn about animals in Science. Sometimes they think we’re studying animals when we aren’t. A girl was absorbed in her textbook’s chapter on weather. She wondered, “Now just tell me what does a snake have to do with the weather?” 

When I glanced at the page she was reading I noticed a paragraph labeled Water Vapor. Looks like we got to study animals that day after all. This young scholar had heard about vipers!

Students learn some of their science from the TV.  Abbreviations can be quite a challenge. One boy wondered why some flying objects don’t die! When I questioned him further, he had watched a program on “Undying Flying Objects” so I changed my plans to include UFOs the next day’s lesson. After the kid in the next seat corrected him, “They’re not flying, they’re frying!” I decided to teach prefixes and suffixes the in Language class to master the word Unidentified.

Sometimes it’s not clear even to me which subject we are studying. A lovely little lady who enjoyed her jewelry read about necklace power.  It took some heavy duty teaching to turn that into nuclear power and the nucleus of an atom! 

Speaking of atoms and the like, most little scholars love the Atomic Table. They usually know Oxygen and Hydrogen, but some even know Uranium. But sometimes the news can mess up a good day’s learning. That was when a smart little guy wondered, “How can Uranium be both an element AND a country by Russia?” A few days later we had fun making a poster of countries, practicing our capitalization skills. Right after “T is for Tibet” came “U is for Ukraine.” 

Children are constantly learning more about their own bodies. One girl seemed confused as she complained, “It looks like I’m bleeding so I guess I’m hurting.” As I listened I glanced on her desk and saw she had been using a red pen. We tracked down the culprit and her pain went away.

Sometimes we come across hard words like muscles. One guy said “I have big muscles.”  I asked how he knew. He showed me how to flex his arm. Later in the vocabulary lesson I asked the class what muscles were. He was the first to raise his hand and yell out, “Big strong lumps!” 

A classroom is a Gold Mine of learning for both the students and the teacher. The future of our world lies in those Salty Minds.  It makes me take everything I know with a Grain of Salt. At the end of some days I feel like I’ve been through an assault and battery! There is no doubt that teaching can be a kind of minefield as we travel in and among the active minds of children.

Oh well, it’s just another day in the Salt Mines:-)

Copyright 2014 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission to use in print or online.





About grantutor

Career educator in both public and private schools. Has tutored all ages. Writes about education, parenting, & seniors. Sings harmony with folk/rock group and a choir. Caregiver for spouse who dealt with Stage IV cancer. Happy person committed to nature and conservation of a green world.
This entry was posted in Of These My Children: Infamous Sayings of Insidious Intellects – Humor and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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