I was an in-betweener. With the exception of very few friends at school, i never really hung out with kids my age. I have 16 cousins on one side of my family, and only two main age groups; small and big. Right now that would be the 30-35-ers and 5-18-ers. Which means I am too young to sit around with the olders and talk about careers and babies, but too old to talk about high school woes and Power Rangers (even though in actuality i’m 8 on the inside!). I enjoy playing with the youngest ones the best because they help keep my imagination fresh and open. When I was younger I was the oldest kid on our block, so I became the ‘matron’ of sorts, by default. The fact that all the little kids looked up to me really made an impact; that I should be wielding this power for good. So, I set-up a makeshift classroom in our garage. Chairs next to tables, tons of paper and pencils, a globe, and one actual old school desk and school was in session. I always had at least one pupil (my sister didn’t really have a choice), but i usually had 4.
i would tell them things i learned, about human history, Pangaea, the rainforests and all the animals living in them, and try to read to them so it would be fun. It was kind of a hopeless thing, because they would listen and be amazed for a little while, but then would ask things about recess and color time, so i would get frustrated that they weren’t as fascinated as me. but hey, at least I tried, right?
Years later (like this year), my little neighbor girl emailed me to tell me how much fun she used to have in that class, even if she thought the subject matter boring. she liked how excited I was about it, and that made her stay. She said she probably wouldn’t have ditched school nearly as much in high school if just one of her teachers had the passion I had when I was 9.
When I was in high school I would help my friends study their vocabulary and history by reenacting pieces of history, or acting out a word. And you know, as stupid as it sounds, those were the words and times in history they would get 100% on. Goes to show that mnemonic devices really do help!