The Happy Cluckers Are Named

I pinned the Volunteer badge proudly to my chest and walked into the son’s classroom. There, on the board, was a list. The teacher was busy adding to the list and I was flummoxed. There was no categorization. I mean this was not a grocery list, not an author list, not a mailing list, it didn’t look like ice cream flavors either. This list had no theme. 

A sample:

  • Caramel
  • King Cluck III
  • Nathan Drake
  • Westerpoolch
  • McFlurry
  • Lee

I must’ve looked quizzical, for the moment the teacher saw me, she said somewhat sheepishly. “Well, we are coming with a list of names for the chicks in Science class. Say what you will about my job, it is never dull!”

I laughed agreeing heartily. The son had told me about the chicks they were raising in Science class. I just hadn’t realized all the background work that went into raising them.

I have the greatest admiration for teachers as regular readers know: their job is the hardest (but also the most gratifying as the father likes to remind me. He was a teacher for 40 years and is still happy to teach when he can.)

Once the class had settled down, I set about reading a story I had written : Father’s Day in the Jungle, followed by an article published in The Hindu newspaper: Space Racers – Together the Fun Begins, and the saying on the Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan.

The picture of Earth Rising

The children were a marvelous audience as usual. They were curious, wanted to know about how we got the images of our planet, and how it came to be called the Pale Blue Dot. There is always a moment of awe as I imagine the Voyager II spacecraft turning around just before exiting the solar system to take that picture of Earth – the picture immortalized in Carl Sagan’s words as the Pale Blue Dot. I hope a little of that awe was captured by the children in class that day.  

Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan

The innocence, intelligence and joy in an elementary school classroom was more keenly acute this time so close on the heels of another meaningless gun shooting incident in America. 

I am always grateful to the children’s teachers who allow me to come and read to the children, for the experience is extremely satisfying, and the energy of the young children is like a tonic of sorts.

That evening, I asked the son whether the chicks had names yet, and he said happily. “Yeah! The voting was intense. But Caramel and Westerpoolch are happy cluck-ers ma!”

I was reminded of Miss Read’s sayings: Miss Read was a country school teacher who wrote prolific books about life in the English countryside with generous measures of common sense, nature, and gentle humor.

“Life went on. No matter what happened, life went on, inexorably, callously, it might seem, to those in grief. But somehow, in this continuity, there were the seeds of comfort.” 

Miss Read, Emily Davis

School Uniforms

It’s like an eagle flew by and dropped this on my lap.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/fashion/08cross.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

This article helpfully sheds light on the increasingly different ways in which dress codes (or lack of it) cause problems at US schools. Some children have taken to cross dressing just to be “different”. Reminds me of that television ad for sauce

It’s different
What’s different
Nothing…it’s different
It’s sauce!

Why doesn’t the American Public School system just have uniforms and be done with it like the rest of the world? The argument that some families may not be able to afford it sounds thin to me. They have to afford some clothes, why not uniforms? The emotional scarring, the warring among the different factions within a school and frankly the jarring styles non-uniformity produces far outweighs the feeble consideration that people can’t afford uniforms.

Let’s start with a little exercise shall we? When children wear uniforms, let’s list the disciplinary problems pertaining to clothes alone:
1) Clothes are dirty/Shoes are dusty
2) Shirt not tucked in

Indecent exposure will immediately be reprimanded. Aside from cutting holes in your clothes, there is little chance of indecent exposure when uniforms are worn.

A school is an institution of learning – to treat it as anything else is sacrilege. While at School, what matters is the sharpening of the mind and honing of the senses – everything else is perfunctory, and should not occupy the minds of students and administrators longer than that.

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