Posted on September 17th, 2013
hey were sitting at attention in rows but their backs were to me. Because of this, I couldn’t quite make out the precise nature of their gathering.
“You have to go in there and see it from the other side,” Scott advised. “School’s in session.”
I returned to Peaches’ room and circled around the tableau arranged carefully on the floor. From the other side, it was clearly a classroom. The stuffed animals waited in rows of three for instruction, a paper and pencil in front of each pupil.
“The pencils are new,” Scott remarked after his second trip through.
School started six weeks today. I know because, for my own reasons, I’m counting. By the weekend just past, the pervasiveness of the culture—the expectations for both academic competency and classroom etiquette—had collected into a puddle on the floor of Peaches’ room, all worn fake fur and creepy plastic eyes.
“Waddles isn’t a very good student,” Roy observed to Peaches after the game they’d been playing with the assemblage broke up yesterday morning.
“I’m having a hard time communicating with him,” she conceded.
It would be funny if I didn’t walk around wondering what sort of problems Waddles—a stuffed penguin, just to be clear—is having in class. Is he failing to meet the academic mark? Can he not sit down in his chair and shut his beak and do what he’s told? What is this still facsimile of a classroom populated by toys and props telling me about the real life of the eight-year-old who put it together?
I suppose I’ll just have to ask the teacher when she’s home from school herself.∗