13 November 2007

Why I teach

I collect pinback buttons. I'm assuming that anyone reading this knows me, and that if you know me you certainly know that. On the off chance that someone slipped through the cracks, though, that's an important thing to know about me. Two reasons come to mind that you should know that. Firstly, now you can send me all the pinback buttons you've had lying around wondering who you should send them to. Secondly, this week started with an Evel Kneivel button pinned to the lapel of my black shirt.

"Teacher, that what?"

"It's a button, just like every day."


Ahhhh, the language barrier. How refreshing. "Yes, Joshua, it's a button."

"No teacher, the on the button what is that?"

"What's on the button?"


"Oh, it's a man riding a motorcycle."


"Umm, I guess because he likes to."

Joshua rolled his eyes, which he does quite well for a six year old. "No teacher, why the motorcycle the on the button?"

"Why is there a motorcycle on my button?"


"So the man can ride it."

"But why?"

"I don't understand Joshua."

"Why the person the on the button?"

"Why is this man on my button?"


"He's very famous. He could jump very far on motorcycles."

"Jump the on the motorcycle?"



"I don't know, but he could jump over cars and even very big trucks."

"On the motorcycle?"


"Teacher, really?"


"No teacher, really?"

"Yeah, really. He was a real person."

"No teacher. Not the motorcycle jump the really."

My calling came alive in me. I'm here to educate these children, and it suddenly became clear just how much thier education was lacking. During my next break I went online and printed up some pictures of Evel Kneivel in action. When I showed them to the class, their awed responses were appropriate to the gift of knowledge I was giving them. We passed the pictures around and hung them on the board. My duty was done. All I could do was hope the seed took root.

That was yesterday. Today I walked in and Joshua had his sketch book open on the table.

"Hey Joshua, aren't you supposed to be in the music room?"


"Well, go to the music room please."

"Wait, teacher, I is the drawing. Look."

"What are you drawing?"

"I is the drawing the Evel Kneivel."

Sure enough, stretched across the bottom of his page was a sea of huge trucks, and flying impossibly over it was a tiny stick man standing on a motor cycle.

My work here is done.

Fortunately, they still pay me for just showing up, because I don't plan to leave, just stop working.


David said...

That is a beautiful story, cousin. But maybe tomorrow you should wear a button with a helmet and kneepads on it.

J.Fillmore said...

Remember your Boris pin?

Ashley said...

Evel died on Nov. 30. He was 69.
Sad day.

Celeste the Best said...

You are amazing.

Ninny Beth said...

hellooooo! and herrrrrrrrrro! that was hilarious. I love ESL children stories. I"m glad we share this pennisula!

Ninny Beth said...

hellooooo! and herrrrrrrrrro! that was hilarious. I love ESL children stories. I"m glad we share this pennisula!

Mel said...

The story rocks. I like your writing. Sorry about the stalk...