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Posted 7/09/13 (Tue)


It takes a special person to be a teacher. I know you already know that. But sometimes we have to reinforce that knowledge a little.
I’m not a teacher. I taught my dog, Vern Baker, to run for the house when I pick up a rock, or a stick, and I start cursing when he runs under the cattle trailer and keeps cows from loading up. I’ve taught my horse to throw his head up and jump when he falls asleep and steps in a hole or trips over a rock. I’ve taught kids how to fib to their parents when they are asked if Grandpa gave them ice cream before meal time. And I have been known to teach nieces and nephews their first curse words and how to supersize their orders of fries. So, all in all, you can see I am somewhat of a teacher.
Oh, not everything I teach is bad. I’m pretty good at the ABCs. And I know most Dr. Seuss books from memory. You know, big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie’s alligator, a, a, a. Big B, little b…
But enough of that.
Last week, Jen was working with RJ on phonics. I guess RJ is four or five. I forget which. And he’s a smart kid. He can run my phone better than I. He can play complicated games on an Ipad. He can run the barrels on Drifter and untie goat tail ribbons. He knows how to drive a four-wheeler and knows how to make a chocolate milkshake. He knows that Grandpa cannot feed his month-old baby brother, and he knows what to feed a cow. All in all, he is pretty well educated for a kid.
But phonics, at least for now, eludes him. But he has that Meyer confidence that can’t be taught.
He knows all the letters. Sometimes rather than call them by name, he just gives you the sound when asked what a certain letter is. Should make phonics easy.
His mother was showing him the word “red.” You know. R is rrrr. E is eh (or however you write that sound). D is duh (again, however). Then you put them all together. Rrrrr eeeee dddddd!
“What’s that?” says RJ.
“Polar bear,” he exclaims confidently!
Now that I think about it, he may be a future writer of newspaper columns!