Isn’t it interesting that such an odd word ‘pedagogy’ deals with the teaching of stuff to kids?

It’s funny how lately I’ve been pondering the physical impact of words and finding onomatopoeia in all kinds of words!

Like ‘pondering’ for instance, doesn’t it sound like you’re doing just that, pondering, thinking, mulling something over?

And same with the word pedagogical, with it’s ‘d’ sound and hard ‘g’ followed by a soft ‘g’ sounds and then hard ‘c’, doesn’t it sound like it implies putting barriers up, something hard and methodical (ah, there’s another great one!) and difficult.



And yet if you’re a children’s author you better be familiar with the pedagogical method!

Because the biggest darn market for kids books remains, and probably will always remain, schools and pedagogical teachers.

You got to make friends with teachers, and most of the times it’s really easy, but then every once in a while you come across a person who really puts the ‘gog’ in pedagogical.

The kind of person who takes offense to the word ‘fart’ in your Fajr story and who asks you to, instead use the term ‘pass wind’ and when you do, because hey, they’re the vice principal, and you got to tailor your presentation to please them, the kids just look at you with a blank expression, so you say, “You know…pass wind.” And again they look at you, “Huh?” So finally you just say it, “Fart.” And that’s when the kids get it, and they laugh.

And something that was a natural story with universal themes becomes a bit more awkward because you couldn’t just use the normal term because some stupid educator thought it was too crude!

I really don’t think these kinds of people actually respect children.

I think they believe that children need to be manipulated away from their baser selves.

They look at education as a form of civilizing the little savages, not that different really from the mentality that gave us reservation schools.


I don’t think they realize that you can actually appeal to the natural curiosity in children, and the natural desire to be good.

I think a LOT of educators actually underestimate kids.

Maybe it’s because of this pedagogical game they play, where they try to present things in an ‘appropriate’ manner, and they don’t deal with reality.

It’s such an artificial construct.

It’s like when I was doing those workshops with those grade four and five kids and we were brainstorming, composing a found poem about what it was like to live in their little corner of Toronto, and some of the kids tossed out some stupid answers, and I just looked at them and said, “No! That won’t work!” and I asked the next kid.

The teacher told me afterwards that she was so surprised that the kids hadn’t curled up in a fetal position at my blunt rejection of their idea. She said how during their pedagogical training they’d been taught to never tell a kid their suggestion wasn’t valid. But to hedge, to hem and haw and move onto better ideas.


The kids knew right away that it was nothing personal. In fact the kid who offered the silly suggestion probably knew it wasn’t a good suggestion. And they knew when I rejected it, that I was just being honest. Not insulting!

Kids can figure out just the way a grown up is dealing with them and they adjust, accordingly.

I find it so easy to build a rapport with kids!

And I think maybe it’s because I try my best to be honest with them.

I tell them the truth, unvarnished, without any ‘gog’ in it.

And they can recognize it.


Sorry for the rant.

It’s just been a very trying week!