A screenshot of a six year old’s hilarious answer to a math test question was recently posted by his mother on the internet. It soon went viral and won millions of fans. When i saw it yesterday i too chuckled away at the refreshing innocence of the answer! You ask a six year old “How do you know? Show your thinking.” and the little one draws a stick-man picture of himself scratching his head with a thought bubble!! Many may think it was cheeky and sassy but it was the child’s spontaneous response. It was also heartwarming to read the mothers comment that he got credit for the answer but could not really understand why the grownups found it funny!!
As a teacher you have a repository of such hilarious answers; yet at times you are also left bemused by the child’s perspective, specially the little ones. The first time i experienced it was many years back when i first started teaching. It was more of a substitution for a friend while she was away on maternity leave and involved a bunch of some two dozen kindergarten kids. Among those energetic four and five-year olds was a brat who just refused to sit in one place and would generally be running around troubling everyone else. Within a day or two i realised that the only thing that could keep him occupied was a box of crayons and drawing paper sheets. He could happily spend the entire time either drawing and colouring something, or explaining his creation to me! One particular morning he had been a little more than his usual boisterous self and i had to admonish him with some sternness even to get him to sit down with his favourite activity. After some time he came to me with his creation, his huge innocent eyes still reflecting his hurt at having been scolded. All i could see on the sheet were squiggly lines and two small circles so i asked him somewhat gently to explain what he had made. With as much menace in his voice as a four year old can muster, he told me that the picture showed tall grass from behind which the two eyes of a tiger were staring at me and if i scolded him any more the tiger was going to attack and eat me!! Believe me i never had the heart to reproach him for anything thereafter!