It was hard to stay “nice”. Sometimes it hurt.
Sarah, her twin had no such qualms, had risen to the top, stepping on whoever dared get in her way. Sometimes Jenny felt like a failure by comparison.
The day had been awful, an argument at home, a put down at the school, nothing was going right. What a birthday!
It slipped out at recess. Her year four pupils had been discussing star signs.
“When’s your birthday, Miss?” an eager voice chimed. Should she lie?
“March 12th.” She hoped they didn’t notice, but they did. Jace caught on right away.
“That’s today! Is it your birthday today?” She nodded. Her eyes moistened as the word caught on and “happy birthday” squeals and songs sped around the playground. it didn’t stop there… Grubby hand written cards appeared, candies wrapped in pages stolen from exercise books and a small bunch of ragged daisies and dandelions appeared on her desk. Best of all was the shy hug from Eisha, the girl that hardly ever spoke.
Back home nestled contentedly with a cup of tea she surveyed her news feed, predictably full of her sister’s birthday posts, food, wine, luxury presents and false smiles. She grinned into her tea cup. She’d had something better.
“Putting your feet up love?” a voice whispered in her ear. “I managed to get off work early. I felt so bad about this morning. I forgot it was your birthday… thought we could go out, do something.”
“It’s OK, I had the best day ever!”
“Really? I’m so glad… Here … for you.” Embarrassed he thrust a bunch of daffodils into her hands. She knew they were only Tesco, he’d forgotten to take off the label, but to her they were perfect, as all her presents had been.
It’s a little like the maxim “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Teach a child to think, to research, to reason and pretty soon they’ll be teaching themselves!
“Inside a train there was an old man sitting near the window together with his 24 year old son.
The son looking out towards the window shouted: ” DAD, look! the trees are going behind!”
His dad smiled and a young couple looked at the 24 year old guy behaving childishly with pity.
Suddenly he again claimed : “DAD look! the clouds are running with us!”
The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man, “Why don’t you take your son to a doctor?”
The old man smiled and said, “We’ve been there already. My son was blind from birth; he just got his eyes today.””
(Such a lovely story gleaned from a friends FB post (sorry didn’t give the source). It reminded me of my first call to teach, the discovery of sharing the wonder and excitement of a child on discovering the world – may we never lose that vision!)
There is so much in this wonderful world to learn about, new skills, new perspectives, new ideas, new places, new cultures, amazing creatures and phenomena, old wisdom, new technology, even more exciting everyone has something they can teach you! Become as a child and absorb it all like a sponge!
Hot, controversial topic!
Having once more seen my mercurial grandson finally manage to fix his boisterous (note the “boy” part!) personality into his official school slot, (as happens every new school year), this caught my eye.
Perhaps I shouldn’t talk about it lest I rant. lol! Being an ex private tutor, homeschooler and even helping start a successful school, I tend to have a lot to say.
Like doctors and vaccines, I made sure my own kids never darkened the halls of a conventional school room. I believe in helping each child find and reach their true potential, that education is for the child not vice verse.
Anyone who feels it’s normal for an active 6-7 year old boy to sit still at a desk for hours evidently never had a 6-7 year old boy! Yet small children love to learn. A fussing baby will frequently stop crying to pay attention when you point and say the name of things. Toddlers will annoyingly ask to watch the same show again and again till they’ve assimilated every word and we all know all about the “why” syndrome. Learning is natural, and kids love it, but school is not (at least not the way it is generally organised).
Perhaps the basic problem stems from the fact that most schools are large institutions run by governments having an agenda to produce a large number of suitably qualified fodder that will fit nicely into the established status quo either as elite (private school fodder) or unknowing servant of the elite (the rest of us).
Of course some unique souls manage to survive the “one size fits all” school factory packaging, becoming artists, inventors, movie stars etc. but they are few and far between. In most, sadly, the flame dies and learning loses its joy.
I speak of course in generalities. My time today is limited by the need to pick up the aforementioned grandson, from the aforementioned institution, and hopefully inspire him to complete his homework so he can successfully jump his SAT hurdles lol! This is a huge subject though. Perhaps you’d like to add your “ten cents”.
How I can so relate to this! Being dyslexic long before the condition was widely known my high IQ lay buried beneath totally incomprehensible spelling. Only after leaving school was I able to bring my mind to bare and learn how to overcome this becoming the only pupil from my poor secondary school to obtain a degree and go on to teach others.
One of the secrets of my success as a private tutor was my delight in unlocking the treasures buried in these brilliant minds and showing them how to apply them. Nothing can give more satisfaction to a teacher.
(third blog bite of a short sci fi/fantasy story)
Alex woke with a jolt in his own personal penitentiary, aching to feel the response of his body. Hope glimmered. “Doc” said there’d be other times…
“Stupid, stupid idiot!” he admonished himself “Doc” was a fragment of dreams, a character created by his subconscious due to his administering the medication. It was all an illusion, a paradise conjured by the meeting of a desperate mind hallucinogenic drugs.
Would the real doctor return? He had no way of knowing. Fear seized him. Night came with its nightmares, but none as bad as his waking state.
Morning dawned, faces swam and retreated, the drip rattled as it was changed. Then there he was, Doc.
“Bet you thought I wasn’t coming!” he grinned as Alex felt the prick of the needle.
The hospital gown was gone; replaced by a shirt and loose, brown, cotton pants.
“Do you like your new look?” Doc chirped. “I thought you might want to blend in more.”
“Well it sure beats that gown! Simple and functional, suits me!”
“Yes, I think it does,” Doc said slowly, looking him over. “No multi-million fashion industry here!” he added, as if picturing with pleasure its demise, “or Anorexia.” A cloud of sadness passed his face, then he continued. “No gyms either, there’s plenty of “work out” to be got out in the fields. No uncomfortable business suits for anyone! The air is fresh and unpolluted, there’s plenty of good food for all, rest and exercise, the little ones thrive on it.” Alex remembered the healthy, laughing children at the pool.
“My kind of place!” he agreed. (If only it were real)…
“Let’s look at the school!” Doc grinned. Strolling over the hillside they sighted a crowd of children sitting under an oak, a vivacious young woman standing among them.”The location can change with each lesson.” Doc informed him. “Today it’s here.”
The children flocked to him. He gathered them in his arms as they laughed and squealed. They seemed to know him. The teacher was unconcerned at the interruption of her lesson, smiling flirtatiously at Alex. They began telling Doc some of the places they’d been and things they’d done. Alex listened enthralled. This school was no longer about books it seemed one joyous festival of learning, doing and experiencing!
“There are whole areas for them to come where they can learn constructively. ” Doc explained, “They come any time they want, it’s not required. Some parents also teach them at home, but they like to come, there’s no need of cajoling. Even reading and writing are not compulsory, though they all learn because there are so many beautiful books and stories. Some things must be learnt the hard way and reading is one of them, but it’s taught without pressure so some learn early others late. You’d enjoy teaching here.”
“Me a teacher?”
“But what would I teach?”
“Oh, believe me you’d have plenty to teach! As you can see this school system is quite different!” He laughed and the sound was pure joy reflected in the laughter of the children. It all became one and blended together as darkness invaded.