I taught my doctor’s son in year 2 & 3. He is now a young man in year 11, which makes me feel quite old.
I was remembering the other day a writing task I set in year 2 at the conclusion of a unit we were completing called, “People Who Help Us”. The task was simple. Write about what profession you would choose to be when you grew up. Once we established that being a princess or a super hero could not be considered as a viable occupation for most people, the children began to deliberate and write about the range of professions we had discussed over the prior weeks.
Doc’s Son was a very studious young man, and being particularly bright was one of the first finished. He joined the line at my desk to get his work edited. Unfortunately he was standing next to a rather rambunctious young man who decided to have a chat about their chosen professions. When Doc’s Son shared that he wanted to be a gynaecologist little Master Rambunctious questions, (at the top of his voice) “What’s a Gynaecologist?” Of course this line of enquiry instantly gained the immediate attention of the rest of the class, and various members of the class also wanted to know the meaning of such an impressive big word. (Because up until now the only long worded profession of interest had been a palaeontologist.)
I was suddenly put on the spot. Being in the middle of a whole heap of fertility treatments, I was far to familiar with varied roles of the gynaecologist, and I was a bit lost for words. In that moment of confusion I asked Doc’s Son to explain to the rest of the class what a gynaecologist is. I immediately realised that this could go very badly and crossed my fingers as the little guy started responding.
“A Gynaecologist,” he seriously stated, “Is a doctor who helps ladies have babies.”
Phew. Crisis averted.
All of a sudden the majority of the female members of the class wanted to change their chosen professions. It now seemed that Gynaecology was in vogue, and babies were far more interesting then chef’s, nurses and air hostesses. Even a few boys were ready to drop their dream of being a fire fighter, police officer or digger driver to join the medical profession. I was getting multiple requests to spell ‘gynaecologist’ on the board. Of course I did what any good teacher would and shut it down. (Considering the lack of ob/gyn’s in my town now and other regional centres, this may have been a hasty move.)
Of course I was met with all types of whining, “But Mrs. T I really want to be a gynaecologist” or “I’d be a great gynaecologist, I love babies” etc. etc. To which I insisted that they should be almost finished their writing and no one was going to change at this stage of the process unless they wanted to finish it during their lunch hour. Of course no one wanted to pay such a high price to change occupations so they resumed writing about their first choices.
Luckily they had all forgotten how to pronounce “gynaecologist” by the end of the day and I got no puzzled questions from parents wondering what I had been teaching their children.