My role as a teacher over the years has allowed me a peek into the integrity and character of many of my students. Children tend to have a clear-eyed look at their realities, even while they are learning the proper words for those realities.
Monday mornings sometimes require a little settling into classroom learning activities after busy weekends so fresh on the kids’ minds.
One guy rushed in to say, “There was a person rescued from a business fire yesterday!”
Before I could hit the starter on my mouth another student spoke up. My mom said it was a fire that meant business.”
Wow, now I had to explain the fire was AT a business and was a serious one (i.e. meant business). A teacher’s work is never done, sometimes not even started before things get complicated.
Looked like that day was calling for vocabulary work and so early in the morning. I grabbed another cup of coffee and dove in.
Later in the morning we were reading a play. Many students love to be in charge. One smart girl piped up, “I want to be the near rater!” Others corrected her by hollering narrator but I let her have the job anyway. I hoped she’d see the word often enough to get it clearly established in her fine mind. (To help it along, I said “narrator” every time it was her turn to talk…)
Lunch brings stories from the homes and neighborhoods. A boy was horrified at the movie he and his uncle saw about a poultry heist. He said he couldn’t look at some of it so he went to the rest room to kill time. (Guess in that case it really was a REST room!)
Once he said it was scary I realized chickens were not involved. So we talked about that hard word poltergeist. I saved heist for another day. Besides that I doubted the kids would need to know about a poultry heist in their lifetimes!
After lunch we had Social Studies. Once a week we discuss current events. A girl said her parents “watched a real important dysentary on TV last night.” No one seemed to be coming down with something so I decided to introduce the word dignitary into our vocabulary list for the week.
When I said the root word was dignity a sharp scholar spoke up with “Does that mean they are always dignified?!!” I choked a bit and moved on.
Children seem to have their own way of expressing themselves. A speech therapist was returning her small group of students (after their lesson) to their respective rooms. An eager gy helpfully said, “Let’s put her up first.” clarifying that gal’s room was the closest. No comment.
Afternoons can seem long to students and teachers alike. One boy looked up from deep concentration as I walked by. He mourned, “I need a headache.” I reminded him it was almost recess time, and had him take a short break. Then I continued, “If you still have a headache when you get home tell your mom. He said, “She’ll give me an aspen.” I just didn’t have the heart to get caught up in trees and headache remedies!
History class is always an adventure into the inner recesses of the mind and experience of a child. We were learning about the Constitution. One gal read, “Secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our first lady.” I coughed greatly and bravely lapsed into an impromptu lesson on posterity!
After recess the kids had basically checked out for the day. Only one more issue had to be dealt with. A boy asked me as we came back into the classroom why was Jesus called the only forgotten son. He said he just couldn’t understand why anyone would forget their own son, especially God! So I had a chance to do one more bit of vocabulary teaching, commenting afterwards how much begotten and forgotten sounded alike. Next week we may discuss ancestry and draw family trees saying who begat whom. But I’ll need to rest up before tackling that!
We sang songs and drew pictures of things we’d been studying. We were all kinda relieved when the cars began pulling up to pick up weary children.
As for me I rushed to have a sit down snack cause I wouldn’t want to need a headache.
Copyright 2019 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use in print or online.