Thank you, Mr. McManus

24 09 2008

Probably for definitelies the best part of communicating with children is trying to figure out what examples to use so as to embed knowledge in their minds most effectively.  For instance — Chris asked me this question: “What does Rectify mean?”  I know that, in my mind, an easy way to learn its definition is to point out that “correct” and “rectify” share the identical arrangement of four letters — the etymology may not be wholly on my side, but it serves the purpose for the assignment.

Of course, some kids look at me like I’m insane when trying methods like this one. Those are the ones with whom I adopt old Mr. Hanboder’s method of instruction:

(Edit: I didn’t say it at the time, but this was some of what I later used for TST.  The “final draft” (mmm…draft…) can be found a few posts after this one. No, I won’t give you a link, you lazy pig.)

Old Mr. Hanboder, by Robert

Old Mr. Hanboder was a man who expected great things. When my parents sent me to work in his wheat fields after I turned ten, I quickly discovered that he saw children much like my Grandpa Abraham did. Just like Grandpa Abe, Old Mr. Hanboder was always willing to tell you a story or two about how hard it was in his day; and just like Grampa Abe, Old Mr. Hanboder always had a wink and a rock to send your way if you stopped cutting the wheat for even a second. The work sure was hard, and the scars may never go away, but I’ll never forget the lesson I learned at Old Mr. Hanboder’s side on the day we buried Jimmy.

As the cardboard coffin tumbled into the pit we had helped Jimmy dig just a few short days before, Old Mr. Hanboder leaned in way close to me and whispered to me, “That’ll be you next week if you don’t start cutting more of my !@#(!@# wheat.”

I only wish Grandpa Abraham had eluded the police long enough to meet Old Mr. Hanboder. I think they would have been the best of friends.