Teaching Elementary School

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series Issue V: Summer 2010

by Audry Israeli

I taught the lower grades and they came up with a lot of cute and funny sayings. For example, I told them the story of Christopher Columbus’s voyage and how he discovered America, but he didn’t know it. And that later, Amerigo Vespucci came here and he realized it was a new land, and it was named after him. But some things were named after Columbus—such as Columbus Avenue and Columbia University.

I asked the class, “Where did Columbus sail?”

A girl answered, “He sailed up Columbus Avenue.”

Around Veteran’s Day I asked the kids, “What’s a veteran?”

One child answered, “Someone who doesn’t eat meat.”

Another one said, “A doctor for dogs and cats.”

When we were making Valentine’s Day cards, I gave the students a sheet of white paper and a red paper heart to paste on it. A little boy came up to me desk in tears, holding his red heart, which was in two pieces.

“What happened?” I asked him.

He pointed to the little girl who sat next to him and said, “She broke my heart.”

When I told them about the Underground Railroad, I asked them to tell me what it was in their own words.

One boy said, “The slave subway.”

On St. Patrick’s Day I told the class the story of St. Pat. I mentioned that it was said that he drove the snakes out of Ireland.

A girl asked, “Did he have a truck?” I was puzzled for a moment and then she added, “You said he drove them out.”

Some time later I saw a cartoon in the Daily News. It showed a man driving a car. There were snakes around his neck; seated next to him were more snakes and even more were filling the back seat. They were all hissing.

“Shut up, back there,” the man was saying.

The caption underneath read: “St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland.”

I thought about what the little girl had said and thought, “My God, she was right!”

Issue Navigation<< The Resurrection | Penny on the Ground >>