September 23, 2015
In my adult life, I spent twenty-six years teaching school for real! Ten years with 3rd grade and sixteen years with 1st grade. I wonder how many hours as a child I spent teaching pretend school? My students were anyone that I could hold captive including my younger brother. Most of the time, however, my learners were stuffed as in stuffed animals or dolls. I remember using the Reader’s Digest magazines as my textbooks as they were the perfect size. I had a folding chalkboard that continually pinched my fingers when I would try to move it.
My daughter played school as a child using stuffed animals and dolls as her students as well. And now my granddaughter plays pretend school when she gets off of the bus and yes, stuffed animals and dolls sit quietly in their squares on the carpet waiting for their assignments. No Reader’s Digests for her students. They use my library of children’s books for reading and story time. She has a whiteboard and markers, pointers, good notes, stickers and incentive charts, flashcards, math workbooks, games and charts. Sometimes her little brother even gets corralled into playing along with her. He doesn’t last very long before he insists on recess! Papa and Daddy’s new shop has a pretend schoolroom complete with desks for the teacher and the students. Pretend school goes on there in the shop summer, fall, winter and spring.
It is a special joy for me to watch this pretend school happening. Her teaching methods mirror the particular teacher she has during the present school year. Interesting to see it change as her teacher’s change. What a special privilege for me to be able to peek into the pretend classroom. I sometimes even get to be a student – of course I’m a problem child!