Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas...

The Lifeguard Fears No Man!

Years ago, The Lifeguard taught fourth grade in an elementary school in Massachusetts.* My goal was to have students who not only spoke in complete sentences, but who also had exceptional vocabularies. Each day, The Lifeguard assigned a word, and told the kiddos that they were liable to be called on to use that word in a sentence.

On Thursday, before a big snowstorm, I gave them their word: "contagious".

On the following Monday--school having been cancelled due to the storm--I asked my students, in turn, to use the word in a sentence.

Sarah said, "My mother put me in bed with my brother when he had chicken pox, because chicken pox are contagious."

"Excellent," I said.

James offered, "I came home from school the other day, and told my brother a joke. He started laughing, and then my mother started laughing, and then, my father started laughing. That's because laughter is contagious."


Then, little Liam O'Sullivan, a recent arrival from Dublin, raised his hand.

In his thick Irish accent, he said, "On Friday, my mum went outside to shovel our driveway. It took her two hours, but she got the whole thing cleared, and was about to come back inside
the house when the plow drove by and piled all of the snow back up at the end of the driveway. My dad looked out the window and said, 'Oh, it'll take that contagious to clear that snow."

*The Lifeguard is willing to do just about anything for a joke. For the record, I never taught fourth grade in Boston, or anywhere else.

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