Anne of Avonlea
Facts and Fancies
"Teaching is really very interesting work," wrote Anne to a Queen's Academy chum.
"Jane says she thinks it is monotonous but I don't find it so. Something funny is almost
sure to happen every day, and the children say such amusing things. Jane says she
punishes her pupils when they make funny speeches, which is probably why she finds
teaching monotonous. This afternoon little Jimmy Andrews was trying to spell 'speckled'
and couldn't manage it. 'Well,' he said finally, 'I can't spell it but I know what it means.'
"'What?' I asked.
"'St. Clair Donnell's face, miss.'
"St. Clair is certainly very much freckled, although I try to prevent the others from
commenting on it . . . for I was freckled once and well do I remember it. But I don't think
St. Clair minds. It was because Jimmy called him 'St. Clair' that St. Clair pounded him
on the way home from school. I heard of the pounding, but not officially, so I don't think
I'll take any notice of it.
"Yesterday I was trying to teach Lottie Wright to do addition. I said, 'If you had three
candies in one hand and two in the other, how many would you have altogether?' 'A
mouthful,' said Lottie. And in the nature study class, when I asked them to give me a
good reason why toads shouldn't be killed, Benjie Sloane gravely answered, 'Because it
would rain the next day.'
"It's so hard not to laugh, Stella. I have to save up all my amusement until I get home,
and Marilla says it makes her nervous to hear wild shrieks of mirth proceeding from the
east gable without any apparent cause. She says a man in Grafton went insane once
and that was how it began.
"Did you know that Thomas a Becket was canonized as a SNAKE? Rose Bell says he
was . . . also that William Tyndale WROTE the New Testament. Claude White says a
'glacier' is a man who puts in window frames!
"I think the most difficult thing in teaching, as well as the most interesting, is to get the
children to tell you their real thoughts about things. One stormy day last week I gathered
them around me at dinner hour and tried to get them to talk to me just as if I were one of
themselves. I asked them to tell me the things they most wanted. Some of the answers
were commonplace enough . . . dolls, ponies, and skates. Others were decidedly
original. Hester Boulter wanted 'to wear her Sunday dress every day and eat in the
sitting room.' Hannah Bell wanted 'to be good without having to take any trouble about
it.' Marjory White, aged ten, wanted to be a WIDOW. Questioned why, she gravely said
that if you weren't married people called you an old maid, and if you were your husband
bossed you; but if you were a widow there'd be no danger of either. The most