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Having spent a considerable portion of the day attempting to manipulate a loop of string into impressive shapes, I am resigned to what I always knew: that I am helplessly impractical. As the quest for employment meanders through paths untrodden, I find myself a soon-to-be-teacher of ‘puzzle solving’ to 6-7 year-olds, classified as “highly-gifted”. I had planned on opening with an etymology lesson. My tenet – that the knowledge of word origin, at age 7 sets in place the principles upon which future semantic puzzles may be solved- seemed structurally sound. Alas, it was not to be. My superiors alerted me gently to the fact that the emphasis was on fun activities, like tying knots and performing magic tricks.
Luckily, I have books on both.
Indeed, I am being too hard on myself: today’s achievemnent was not insignificant. I learned how to form a piece of string into the shape of a tea cup and saucer. Furthermore, I can now release a ring in the clutches of complex folds with a swift movement of my forefingers and thumb. When my left hand is consealed by a large hankey, I can subtly slip a button up my sleeve to make it disappear. The addition of certain numbers on a pre-arranged grid always amounts to 34.
I am determined to present these tricks with the relentless enthusiasm that is the responsibility of every teacher to convey. In fact, I am genuinely looking forward to setting my scholarly babes the challenge of creating their own board games. Before then, however, I must take a deep breath before trying to master ‘Bunch of bananas’, and matchstick diagrams of the form ’make one move to form three equilateral traiangles’.