My job as a teacher, or chief thought catcher, in this small private school brings sunshine to my soul.
As the day starts the students begin the process of settling down. A gal noticed my efforts at taming the crowd and she hollered, “Guys, she’s trying to attack someone’s attention.” Her shrill voice attracted everyone’s attention for sure.
Children are so insatiably sensible. Often their ideas make much more sense than the way things are.
Just after I admonished the students to show responsibility, one budding scholar told us his mom was laughing at a Saturday afternoon broadcast she likes to watch. “That Garrison guy was talking about a church called Our Lady of Perceptual Responsibility. Just tell me what’s funny about that!” I imagined Mr. Keillor had said “perpetual” but this kid was telling it according to his perception. No doubt, such perception is a responsibility for teachers and students alike!
Social Studies class covers both history and current events. The election year brought lots for the children’s brains to process.
One young lady arrived to class saying her mom was upset about the Stress Conference with all the back and forth between candidates. It’s a sure thing reporters with the press certainly felt a lot of stress!
There was the day when a guy mentioned that CNN had a brown table discussion. He wondered why the color of the table really mattered. That afternoon we spoke of ‘almost rhymes’ like round and brown.
Then when the fall election finally came, students had to learn about the President Erect. There was so much information overload on TV and in the air that the children found themselves perplexed at times. It was enough to make all of us suffercate just trying to sort it all out.
A year like this causes our Social Studies class to last a bit longer since the kiddoes are so full of relevant questions. The week of the general election was that kind of time. A child claimed, “The President got neglected yesterday.” I realize that some folks thought he should be neglected, but I had to clarify that he got elected!
One day we worked with oranges, using plastic knives to cut them in half to show the hemispheres of the earth. The object was to learn that we live in the Northern Hemisphere. However, before I was able to solidify that concept, an argument started when a gal swore she “was a southerner so it’s obvious we live in the Southern Hemisphere!” Who among you want to take a turn at clearing that one up?
Part of following the election in a classroom is learning about the states. One guy was shocked as he was working a United States puzzle. He yelled out, “Hey, I found a state named Vomit! Who would want to live there?” I have a strange feeling the Chamber of Commerce folks in Vermont would want me to clarify that in a hurry.
Students never completely forget that they will have grades, so one gal mentioned that her grandma lived right by “The Evergrades over in Florida where she retired.” That day we learned all about The Everglades.
A child walked in the room and said, “Last night on the news they talked a lot about Medicine, Wisconsin.” Instead of passing out pills, I wrote Madison, Wisconsin on the board and we had a chat.
The puzzles had landmarks and symbols to show special points of interest for each state. My ears perked up when I heard, “Hey lookee here, I found Old Fateful, see it?” I know the election process may have seemed to be sealing our fate, but I still thought it necessary to take time out to explain the word faithful. The students really enjoyed setting a timer for every few minutes so they could get the hang of Old Faithful doing its geyser thing on a regular, or faithful, schedule.
Speaking of fate and such, a young man said his dad likes to read history stories about the Revelation. (I know it’s been a tough year, but I sincerely hope we are not looking at the End of Times!) So we had a short lesson about The American Revolution. I’m a bit tired, so I think we’ll study conflict resolution another day.
Well, it’s been a long election. Some people are happy, and some are dismayed. A girl in my class has just the right answer to folks who are weary of the election year. She confided, “Since Mom says I’m too old to play with my dolls, I play with my Invincible Friend.” Some of us who are really tired of politics might just decide to play with our Invisible Friend too.
Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.