As a primary school teacher, there are days when I question whether the kids are paying attention to anything I’m saying. Are they listening or are they all just pretending to listen while they daydream about Keroro, Ben 10 or whatever the latest thing is (I believe Scooby Doo remains extremely popular)? There are moments, I confess, where I stand there thinking that I’m not making a difference at all.
What’s that I hear you think? “No, Nick. That couldn’t possibly be true.” Well, you’re right, it’s not true. I do make a huge difference, and do you know how I know that? “No, we don’t. Please tell us.” OK, calm down, I will.
About an hour ago, a student in my class delivered an insult to another student that made me as proud as any teacher could be. Instead of saying, “You’re dumb,” or “You stink,” like any normal, uneducated little snot would, he insulted another child by calling him Polydectes, the Evil King of Seriphos in Greek mythology. (We are studying myths and legends at the moment and this proves they must be listening! Hahaaaaa!)
I was even prouder when the student returned fire with, “Yeah, well you’re Medusa!’
These kids are only seven years old and speaking English as a second language, but they feel quite at home insulting each other by conjuring up images of Greek mythology. This was far more than I could do at their age and considerably more than I can do now.
I know I should have disciplined the name-caller but unfortunately my teacher face failed me on this occasion and I was unable successfully berate the youngster for his hurtful insults (how would you like to be called Polydectes?) without bursting into laughter.
This could be the start of something big, though. Pretty soon I’ll have them hurling Shakespearean abuse at the top of their lungs. Instead of, “Julia is being so annoying,” it’ll be, “Julia is an egg, a fry of treachery.” “Blake farted,” will become, “Something is rotten in the state of Blake,” and “Andrew is a girl!” will be magically transformed to, “I saw the boy today, if boy he be.” It will be a literary utopia, full of misery and big words. Ahhh, I can’t wait.
Or maybe I should just teach them to treat each other better.