I've long said that one of my favourite aspects of my job is hearing some of the brilliant quotes the children come out with. I mean, it's only one of my favourite aspects; I'm not discounting the excitement of "tiny chairs," the smell of the poster paint or the fact that I get all the school holidays off (three weeks til half term, you say? A week off, you say? "Get" and indeed "in")...
Children of a certain age don't quite yet possess a fully-operational sense of tact. Obviously it's pretty crucial that they're taught what they can and can't get away with saying (I'd go so far as to say that helping them to learn that is part of my job), but their innocent naivety with regards to what pops out of their little mouths can produce some absolute gems. Today, for example, I was asked: "Miss? You usually wear pretty dresses or skirts. For the last two days, you've been wearing trousers. Is there something wrong?!" I doubt I'll be winning Vogue's Best Dressed Teaching Assistant award this year, then. Unless the judges are prepared to discount days when I just can't be arsed to shave...
One award I apparently will be winning, according to one girl in the class in which I work, is Teacher With The Boingiest Hair. I'm going to assume she meant curliest. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, my sister, my friends and my hairdresser...
Sometimes, however, no matter how (more often than not accidentally) hilarious a comment a child makes to me is, it pales into comedy insignificance when compared to the conversations they have with each other. I recently overheard a boy and a girl have the following chat:
Boy: My dad got really excited today because of his erection.
*At this point I leapt, Cat-woman style, to defend their innocence, only for the conversation to continue...*
Boy: It's where you tell someone who you want the pie minister to be.
Girl: That's not called an erection! It's called a "lection." Stupid.
Well duh. Another of my favourites was:
Girl 1: I know what Miss T's first name is.
Girl 2: So do I, silly. It's "Miss."
What I particularly like (because who doesn't like their ego being fed?!) is the fact that children will be willingly complimentary (I was told I was the best teacher in the universe last week - a title I treasured until I heard the same child pay the same compliment to someone else the next day. Turncoat!), but they don't always know how to phrase their compliments so that they sound... Well, complimentary. I once got told by a four year old boy that I looked nice in the dress that I was wearing, which he followed up with: "You look nice cos my Granny has a dress with flowers on, too. You remind me of her." I'm 27. I nearly had a breakdown. One which would have been compounded by being told, by a six year old boy a little later: "Miss, that make up on your eyes is really pretty. My mummy doesn't wear that. But then she doesn't have to, because she's younger than you."
Still, at least I have pretty eyes. And the "boingiest" hair. What more could an elderly, granny-dress wearing woman hope for?!