Our little private school was almost lost in the woods. Yet it was pleasantly surrounded by Miss Popcorn Goat, the mascot, and Mr. Roo Ster, the Rooler of the school. On another side was the Pizza Garden and The Chocolate Porch where 32 kinds of plants lived with frogs, birds and squirrels who enjoyed having recess all day.
Oh, and a few students came each day for the sole purpose of avoiding and resisting anything that smacked of school work. Many of them had not felt so good at their former school, so they were skeptical souls.
One day I had the best compliment I could ever have in my life! A new student sat rather shyly as his peers tried to put him at ease. A remarkable guy sitting next to him said, “It’s OK to talk around her” pointing to me (the teacher). “She doesn’t mind. She likes to know what we think. It’s kinda like talking to a Teddy Bear.” (Later that year that child brought me a teddy bear bubble necklace. Hmmm, so many reasons to smile).
My life as a Teddy Bear was busy for sure. In Social Studies we had a lesson on pollution. A child popped up with a map claiming it went with this lesson. Well, I guess some folks might think a population map helps explain pollution.
On the day when we learned about Europe one guy quickly yelled out the chapter title “Earp!” I did a double take to make sure he wasn’t about to vomit but the pleasant look on his face told me to stress the pronunciation of the continents.
We learned about customs around the world. A smart child read from the whiteboard, “They were following the customers of their ancestors.” We all looked to catch a glimpse of who was following whom while I reiterated the concept of customs. We did a role play of being a customer or clerk in a store, then switched to practicing customs of our ancestors and singing a Christmas song. What fun.
Another time when we read about ancestors, someone called it anteaters. An astute kid said they didn’t eat ants, they ate roots and berries. That day we learned about how the eating habits of our ancestors was different from the diets of anteaters.
Soon I wondered if I should have even brought up the subject of ancestors when a gal focused on China. She informed us that “they practiced Sister Worship.” Another child yelled, “Glad I didn’t live there! I’d never worship my sister.” I had myself some real cleaning up to do on the kids’ vocabulary that day.
Science is time for a sense of wonder. As we delved into the wonders of water, a child held up a picture in his library book of a boat. He said, “If a boat turns over it might get a cat’s eye.” Since I had just mentioned gravity, it took me a minute to realize he meant the force of gravity would make it capsize! It’s so nice when the students can apply what they learn to real life, ahem.
Spelling and Language require the dreaded ABC order. One gal was reciting the alphabet to herself to get warmed up for alphabetizing her spelling words. Her voice was happy and musical and she got them just right–almost. When she came to PQRST she clearly said “pee ewe” and held her nose. Once again, I had some explaining to do.
That day in the classroom was finally over. I grabbed my snack and put my feet up, musing about my day. Maybe it’s time for me to consult the Teddy Bear Association about my job. How am I ever going to keep my fur smooth when the kids keep making it stand on end by their shocking renditions of the English language??!!!
Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.