There is something charming and lovely about seven-year-old children, well most children at primary school really but I happen to be working with year threes at the moment, who are about seven.
It is also very funny. I frequently have the feeling that I am in a Joyce Grenfell sketch. Sentences like “George, take your pencil out of your trousers!” or “Lilly, put your bottom on your chair!” are pretty common place but always make me giggle because of Joyce. I never realised until I worked in a school that actually Ms Grenfell was just telling it as it is. I believe James Herriot did much the same thing in a veterinary capacity.
Recently we had the mystery of the boobies in the writing journal. Somebody drew them!
On another occasion a child was in deep trouble for pulling down his trousers on the playing field at lunch time. When asked why, he said he was celebrating having scored a goal. When the teacher, looking baffled, observed that this was a strange way to celebrate, and further remarked that it was not the way she would have celebrated, there was a muffled snort from yours truly; I’m useless at looking stern. The child was invited to celebrate in the classroom which he declined to do before sitting down looking abashed.
Children are sometimes disconcertingly honest. My new haircut or unusual clothes will be greeted, not with criticism, but questions as to why you would have made such a choice. Having to explain is often something of a challenge. On the other hand, wear something sparkly and you will be complimented by every little girl you meet. Compliments are amazingly flattering, even from a little girl.
Working with children keeps you young at heart, well that’s my excuse when I do something childish.