Where do all the teachers go
When it’s four o’clock?
Do they live in houses
And do they wash their socks?
Every child considers their teacher as a special person. They can also be people who they look up to. Generally, when we look up to someone, we tend to think of them in high terms. It is difficult to believe that they lead the same kind of lifestyle that we follow. The child here also makes certain assumptions and questions if his teacher can do the ordinary things that he follows in a normal day.
A teacher along with her students
In the first stanza, the child wonders where the teacher goes after four o'clock. Most schools end around four in the evening. The students rush in groups to reach home. Some go home by bus, some walk, and some are taken home by their parents or other elders. It is a highly busy time when people are in a hurry. Amidst all these chaos, the child wonders where the teachers goes to. Since he considers the teachers as someone different from him, he finds it difficult to believe that the teachers have the same lifestyle that he has.
Children outside the classroom
This thought would also have come to his mind because of the impact of certain beliefs and assumptions he has as a child. Most children believe in magic and mysteries which include fairies, elves, pixies and Santa Claus, or even characters like Spiderman and Superman. These are characters who are capable of doing anything like performing magic or creating wonders. For the child, the teachers are also similar to them, as they place him on a high pedestal. He probably expects them to have a secret hideout where they are on a secret mission. He questions the fact that his super teachers could live in a house like ordinary human beings.
Magical creatures
Schools make children disciplined and regular. They are encouraged to wear neat clothes, clean socks and polished shoes. The child wonders if the teachers who ask him to wear clean socks to school have to wash their own socks. The question could also mean that he finds it impossible to believe his teachers, whom he has seen as a person who is well-read and teaches difficult subjects should have to do such basic chores like washing socks.
Washed Socks
Meanings of difficult words:
The way in which one lives his/her own life
Believing something to be true without proof
Disorder and confusion
PixiesHuman-like beings who have pointed eyes and ears, who are known for being naughty
ElvesMagic creatures, best known for being Santa Claus' workers
DisciplinedTo train someone to behave in a controlled and obedient manner
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Honeysuckle. Where Do All the Teachers Go? - Peter Dixon (pp.67- 68). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.