I've spent the day teaching a hundred primary school children aged 8 and 9 about moths, butterflies, plants and insects.
They were hysterical. Some amazed me with how much they knew, others gave answers that were so funny I had to bite my own teeth not to laugh....
Me (holding up a moth in a pot): Who can tell me what this is?
Child A (with absolute confidence): It's a spider.
Me: No, have another go.
Child B: Is it a worm?
Me: It's not a spider or a worm.
Child C: Is it an earwig?
Me: It's a moth.
Child A: I saw a moth that looked like a Zebra yesterday. It was as big as my arm.
Me: Why do you think this particular moth is this lovely rich orange colour? I'll give you a clue, it's got something to do with the time of year.
Child D: Winter?
Me: Well, it's Autumn really, isn't it.
Me: What colour do leaves turn in Autumn?
Various children all shouting excitedly at once: Green! Purple! Pink! Black!
Me (with admirable patience, I thought): Maybe orange, or red, or yellow?
Child G: How do leaves change colour? Can we paint them? Have you got some paints? Can we have them? Holding up a paint brush she'd dug out of a pot: Is this for painting them with? Where are the paints? Can I start now? I've got a leaf (waving it).
Me: Leaves change colour because the chlorophyll that makes them green fades as light levels drop at the end of summer. And we're not painting leaves today. So, who can tell me about the life-cycle of a butterfly?
Child A: They're born like that.
Child E: They're an egg first, then a caterpillar, then a butterfly.
Me (resisting the urge to kiss Child E): Well done! Now, caterpillars eat certain types of plant. How do you think a butterfly knows which special plant to lay its egg on?
Me: I'll give you a clue. How do we know what food we like?
Me: Where do we put food in order to eat it?
Child A: In the cupboard
Child B: In the oven
Child C: In the fridge
Me: How about in our mouths? And then, hurrying on before they could say anything else: butterflies don't taste their food through their mouths like we do, they taste their food through their feet. So when they land on a plant, they know whether it's the right one to lay their eggs on.
Various children collectively: Ooooooh!
Child A: I hope they wash their feet first.
Me: OK. So you've all read the Very Hungry Caterpillar and you all know that the caterpillar hatches from the egg and his main job is to eat and eat and eat until he's REALLY fat-
-Like Philip, says Child A, interrupting.
I could swear their teacher gave a thinly disguised snort at this before she looked away.
Me (steadfastly ignoring the interruption): What do you think the caterpillar does when he's eaten so much he can't move anymore?
Child A (knowledgeably): Philip is usually sick
Their teacher snorts again. I get the distinct impression she's enjoying this.
Child E: He turns himself into a cocoon and then later eats a small hole out of it and becomes a butterfly.
Me (gratefully): Excellent! Have ten points! And do any of you know what the caterpillar does when he's in the cocoon?
Child F: Does he go to sleep?
Child A: Does he play on his x-box?
Child B: I think he dreams about killing things.
Me: He turns himself into caterpillar soup, and when he's ready he comes out as a beautiful butterfly.
Child A: Can you drink the soup?
I was saved from any more by the heavens choosing that precise moment to unleash what can only be described as an unexpected tropical monsoon. It invaded the tent thoroughly and soaked us all comprehensively.
A nearby tent was ripped from its moorings, flew up into the air, flipped over like it was a leaf and then went skidding across the field heading straight for what looked suspiciously like a brand-new minibus, much to the excitement of the watching children. At that point their teacher decided it was time to break for lunch so they all bolted for the nearest stable cover (in the form of an enormous trailer), accompanied by shouts of: 'Matthew! Get Your Feet OFF that!' and 'Lacey! STOP Pushing!' and 'Sam, if I have to tell you again not to do that you will be in BIG TROUBLE!'
On the whole I am rather glad I'm not a teacher. They must have the patience of Saints :o)
Hope you are all well?