I am now teaching World War II. With all the fascism and genocide the 1940’s can be kind of a depressing topic, so I try to break up all the Nazism with an occasional inspiring story. Today I told the kids about the Battle of Britain. I told them that the German air force, also known as the Luftwaffe, would come across the English channel and bomb the British every night for nearly an entire year (In case you were wondering, that’s not the inspiring part of the story.) I explained that the airplane was still relatively new technology, and the planes could only attack the southern part of the country before they would have to turn around and refuel. While the southern half of the country lay mostly in ruins, the northern cities of Great Britain remained basically untouched. (Here comes the inspiring part…) So in a motivating display of concern and cooperation the northern British opened their homes to the children from the southern cities. Most of the children were evacuated and lived the war years in relative safety.
Hoping to help the kids get a mental image of the time period, I told them that this is what happens in the beginning of the movie The Chronicles of Narnia, and that the first five minutes of the movie are actually pretty historically accurate. One of the kids raised his hand. I was kind of shocked by his display of appropriate behavior, and almost forgot how to respond. Then I remembered that the correct teacher response to a raised hand is to call on the student by name. When I called on him he asked, “So there really were talking lions back then?”
At least he raised his hand.