Comic Relief

Well, folks, it appears that I am officially old. It’s not that I feel particularly old. I usually figure that if I can keep up with twenty-three third graders and still have some energy left by the end of the day, I must have at least some youthfulness remaining. But two recent happenings in my classroom gave me the impression that I must be getting on in years.

The first thing was when I was saying something about travel before there was anything like GPS or smartphones. My students started gasping incredulously, like this must have been somewhere in the Dark Ages; and I had a sudden revelation of how much the world has changed in my lifetime. It used to be the old people who said, “Back when I was young, we didn’t have ______.” Now I guess I’m one of those old people.

The second thing that made me realize my old age was when I made a reference to something that happened when I was in third grade. One of my students exclaimed, “That was back in the 1800s!” I didn’t even bother correcting him. But I guess I do have my work cut out for me when it comes to teaching history. Or maybe it’s math?

Speaking of having my work cut out for me in history class—did you know that the Twin Towers collapsed on October 12, 1492?

Also, you would probably be surprised to know that it was Nero, not Enoch, who “was translated that he should not see death, and was not found because God had translated him. . .” Sometimes we get our history lessons a bit confused with our Bible memory.

Maybe you can help me decide whether I should be flattered by the words or insulted by the portrait on this little gem of a card:

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I have one student who chews practically anything he can get his hands on, particularly his erasers. He also doesn’t eat much at lunch because playing dodgeball is far more important than eating. One of the other students was exclaiming over how little he ate one day, when a third student said, “He doesn’t need to eat any lunch. He eats his erasers instead!”

Sometimes we teachers have to stop and laugh as we reflect on the things we’ve said. Yesterday I found myself saying (calmly and matter-of-factly), “If you need to eat some paper, please eat a piece of notebook paper instead of eating your book.” Yup. All in a day’s work.

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(So much to love in this picture: happy girls, that blue autumn sky, flaming maples, and the ancient golden sycamores that stand like sentinels around our church building.)

If you mention anything about Fords or Chevys in my classroom, prepare for an explosion. It’s a continual heated debate. One day at lunchtime I saw two of my boys rolling around on the ground in a fight/wresting match. I walked over to make sure no one was getting hurt and asked what this was all about. One of the boys said, “He said Fords are better than Chevys!” Swallowing a chuckle, I said, “How do you know that Chevys are better?” To which he replied, “Because all our tractors are Fords, and they don’t work!”

Well, maybe I’m not so old after all, and maybe not as much has changed in my lifetime as I thought. It seems to me that it was just yesterday that my own schoolmates debated the Fords versus Chevys question. If I were truly old, surely this debate would be settled by now, once and for all. Don’t you think so?

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