Memories of grade two

Not that either of my kids are entering grade two this year, but I’ve been reminiscing tonite about my grade two teacher, Mrs. Wallace.

She was probably my favourite elementary school teacher. She was older (of course, I was younger, so she was probably only in her 40s), but full of enthusiasm. She made school fun with little tricks.

The things that really stick out in my mind, though, are all about grammar. When I told my 8 year old that, he asked what grammar was. I told Mr. French Immersion there it was “grammaire,” but he still didn’t know the word. What do they call the pronouns/adjectives/verb etc these days?

Anyhow, Mrs. Wallace once had my class parade around the classroom, then around the halls, chanting “If is a little word with a big meaning.” More than three decades later, I remember that phrase, and even the beat to which we chanted it.

I also remembered a lesson on the difference between “can” and “may.” Maybe you “can” do something physically, but the bigger question would be are you given permission. In the middle of that lecture my older sister came to the classroom to talk to me about something (can’t remember what!), and asked “Can I speak to Carla please?” Well, Mrs. Wallace replied, “I’m sure you can.” And my sister stood there dumbfounded. So she asked again “Can Carla come out here for a minute please?”, and again Mrs. Wallace answered her with “I’m sure she can.” I remember the whole class giggling and my sister beginning to steam. Finally, Mrs. Wallace told my sister “If you’re asking if Carla may come out there, then all right, she may.”

I expect neither my sister nor many of my classmates have forgotten that one. And after telling that story to my kids tonite, I hope they don’t forget too soon either.


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