“Wait, she’s a girl. Why does she have mister in her name?”
One of the great things about working with kids is that they will openly ask about what might confuse them or pique their curiosity. As adults, we tend to tuck that puzzlement away. As teachers, we are in awe of the children and how they speak their minds honestly and ask questions without hesitation. We put together some of our favorites; we hope you enjoy.
At school, I go by Ms. Durrett. I’ve been called Ms. D and Mr. E. When you say my name quickly, it comes out sounding more like Mr. Ett. Furrowed brows and tilted heads are common responses when children first hear my name. Countless times, I have taught the lesson about my name. I write out Mr. Ett and Ms. Durrett. We read each of them separately and then together. I explain my name is Ms. (pause) Durrett. Sometimes I think it might just be easier to go by Jess.
My students consistently shock and amaze me with their honesty. Their naive and curious minds generate some interesting observations. “Ms. Mandy… are you sure you want to wear that shirt? It makes your belly fat,” was one of the first times a child made an unexpected comment about my physical appearance. How do you respond? You laugh and appreciate their ability to express themselves so honestly.
Not only do they share these hilarious thoughts, they pick up on any slight difference they may notice. A haircut, new bag, or shoes could take all of three seconds for a child to notice. I recently purchased a new set of eyeglasses. They’re a bit bigger than my last pair, but my students have seen me wear glasses throughout the year. The first day I wore them to work, one of my students entered the classroom to make sure all of his teachers were accounted for. As he scanned the room checking each of us off in his mind, his eyes met mine, and he exclaimed “WOAH! WEIRD, BIG GLASSES MS. MANDY!” This turned into a conversation in which he advised me to return these glasses, and continue wearing my “first pair.” Following this chat, he made sure to have every other child in our class “check out the weird glasses Ms. Mandy has on her face.”
Some favorite quote worthy moments:
During a lesson on parts of a book:
Teacher: It’s the spine of the book.
Student: Ahh… it’s a spider!
Questions you don’t know how to answer:
“What is your favorite tent?”
And then they can say some of the sweetest things:
“My teachers are my friends.”
A growing sense of the world:
“I eat pickles. It’s the only indian food I eat.”
“We lit that thing with the 8 candles. I think it’s called a Miranda.”
“I can’t even stop farting.”
“How many times did you burp in your pants when you were a kid?”
“Uranus is disgusting.”
“No! Uranus is soooooo beautiful!”
“Look how floppy my legs are! … It’s like a raw yolk!”
“Your chapstick smells like a toucan. Wait, no… it smells like a venus fly trap.”
“I like saying Lesbian. Lesbian.”
“One time I was a bully back in Brooklyn…”
“If you could have one wish what would it be?” “To be a ball.”
“Are you doing that already? Are you smelling your armpits already?”
These moments make us smile and laugh and admire the wonderment and awe of a child’s world. They remind us why we teach and how valuable each moment is. There are a million quotes we haven’t recorded, but at least we have these few to remind us of the joy we get from the kids we spend our days educating. For all the teachers who are not yet writing quotes, do it now!