Drive carefully …
School’s in, and with a neat turn of phrase, Sydney Harris explains it: “The whole purpose of teaching is to turn mirrors into windows.”
Beginners naturally can’t achieve such erudition, yet there’s some joy in the learning. The school is a huge community where teachers team with parents, the greater family and the community itself, setting examples of caring and respect for other people and their property, or as Walter Percy says, “You can get all A’s and still flunk life.”
Language and examples are the root of teaching, so away we go with a blast from the oft dreaded English classes. Every year, English teachers around the continent gather and publish actual analogies and metaphors they’ve enjoyed. Some have escaped onto the internet. Here are a few:
* She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
* Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
* His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
* He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse, without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
* The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
* He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
* Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
* The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
* He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.
* The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
Off-the-wall talk in most classroom stories is attributed to wee Mary, and Little Johnny forgetting they can also nail a thought to the wall, and an adult along with it. He and his class were on a field trip to their local police station. Gazing at the bulletin board photos of the 10 most wanted criminals, one student asked if that was a recent photo of the most wanted.
“Yes,” said the policeman. “The detectives want very badly to capture him.”
Little Johnny asked, “Why didn’t you keep him when you took his picture?”
They’ll not all become writers although some are already better script writers than the scripts we get for many television programs. They all show they have the potential to be what Canada needs more and more, honest, hardworking men and women, with imaginations still exploring and growing.
A tip of the hat to teachers, students, and all those smiling parents waving goodbye at the bus stops, and dropping them off for another year of adventure in education.