I wasn’t really paying attention. I was playing a word game with tiles on the table next to theirs. Outside the pub. A Friday evening in September. Children were running around, chasing, laughing. They were talking, the adults, that is, about the school system. Filling out forms in order to go off site. The teachers, that is. For themselves.
At one point my son approached the table. He was introduced to the one he did not know. A science teacher. My son asked: “What is one plus one”.
That’s not science, the teacher said.
My son retorted in similar vein (I was just testing you, he said, with eleven year old confidence and slight challenge).
Me, I am not a teacher. Not a qualified one. But I do work closely with children and therefore, am closely acquainted with how their minds might work, given freedom to roam.
One plus one not science?.. what about one molecule plus one molecule?
I do remember my high school chemistry; extracting and adding notations/permutations of chemical reactions. [Reactions – how we react to children’s questions – as parents, teachers, educators.] But that’s how it is, isn’t it. We are all in our field of expertise. (Or our mole heap.) Knowing the answers.
Come over here, we shout. Or say. Or think. Or imply.
I know the answer.
All on our individual promontories, familiar with the (immediate) area/surrounds; the view. Our view. Our (limited) perspective.
My son is in secondary school. His day resembles the landscape in my head, I realise. He moves between, among molehills, conveniently categorised into separate subjects. Science. English. History. Maths. The dreaded maths. The numbers. Therefore science does not equal one plus one. History? Years of reign: Victoria vs Elizabeth. English: adding another paragraph to the essay, or playing with one letter: mole becomes hole [not whole].
Which brings me back to the table at the pub, playing a word game with tiles. The eight year old mind playing. Truly playing. And the teacher table next to me, talking about filling out little yellow forms.