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Health Lessons

Rick came in the room whimpering.  His knee was scraped.  A bit of blood was oozing out.  I directed him toward the first aid kit and said, “It’s only a knee.  Knees grow back.”  The kids argued with me.

Later, Jake came in with a skinned elbow.  I directed him to the first aid kit and said, “It’s only an elbow.  Elbows grow back.”  The kids argued with me.

Throughout the course of the year I have assured them that elbows, knees, fingers, feet, arms, legs, ears, noses and heads grow back.  Always they argue with me.  Often one of them asks, “What kind of teacher are you?”  Jasmine frequently says, “We aren’t starfish, Ms. A!”

Today I repeated the phrase, “It’ll grow back,” at least a half dozen times.  People kept banging, poking and thumping themselves.  Luckily no real injuries occurred. As I was reading aloud to the kids after recess, Jasmine picked up a pair of scissors and started snipping the ends of her hair.  I yelled –“Stop!” — loud, startled, and dramatically.

Jasmine froze, scissors poised, mouth in an O, eyes wide.  “Don’t cut that,” I cried.  “It won’t grow back!”

Jasmine yelled, “You scared me!”

Cindi said in disgust, “Honestly, Ms. A., how can you expect us to believe anything you say?”

That’s just it.  I don’t want them to believe.  I want them to think!

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Bill — the kids are a riot — so’s their teacher.

    Mike — I am afraid public education is anti-thinking. Repeat after me … So, in the interest of me keeping my job, let’s not tell anybody what I do, okay?

  2. Brig — I’d have been a riot in the emergency room — and I came very close to going into hair dressing, against my will. Step-mommy dearest thought it was just the thing for me, what with my limited intelligence and all.

  3. Polona — my teaching philosophy is simple, if I can teach them to read, and teach them to think, they have the tools to learn anything else they want or need to for the rest of their lives.

    Don’t just spread this around. Currently it isn’t a popular philosophy. Worse, I am teaching the poor and disinfranchised kids to think.

  4. Oh your kids are Thinkers – to be sure! Sometimes their thoughts AMAZE me! And so do your teaching techniques! 😉

  5. Melli — My kids are more vocal than most because I allow them to express their personalities, I don’t want little Stepford Students. gOh, and — good amazed or bad — as in apalled?

  6. Mumma — I teach the kids to respect themselves and each other.

    Silver — I think there was a compliment in there somewhere. Ouch!

  7. Excellent. Then you truly are a great teacher! Thinking, reading and respecting. That’s pretty much all the core skills you need in life.

  8. You keep teachin’ those kids to think, Quilly. Maybe they’ll grow up to be my audience. You’re convinced I don’t have one thanks to that T word … 😉

  9. OC — I am not convinced you don’t have an audience. When you moan about your blog stats, I just tell you, that T word makes people very uncomfortable. My students included. :*

  10. Quilly, I assure you…that was a compliment. I’ve always liked the psycho teachers…especially my 11th grade English teacher. I nearly cried when I found out she wasn’t teaching anymore, she was promoted to Assistant Principle!

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