A Family Trait

Today my five-year-old son reached a milestone, exhibiting for the first time a traditional family trait that he shares with his siblings and some first cousins. Like their parents before them, the kids in my extended family never let their teachers get away with giving incorrect information in class.

He came out of the gan somewhat distressed:

“Ima, Itai asked the ganenet how many legs a bee has, and she didn’t know. She looked it up in the dictionary and it didn’t say in words how many legs it has, but she showed us the picture and in the picture the bee had four legs.”
“And what did you say?”
“I said that that was wrong, and that bees have six legs. Ima, how do you say insect in Hebrew?”
Charak. And what did the ganenet say?”
“She said that the book was right.”

So tomorrow our copy of “The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive,” including dozens of pictures of six-legged bees, will visit the gan. Stay tuned. . .


  1. wow. dumb ganenet.
    reminds me of the time that my brother’s class was talking about citrus fruits and he said he knew of another one called a citron and that his dad had paid $50 for one recently… (we were living in Germany at the time). The teacher actually called him a liar!
    After Sukkot, my mom sent in the fifty dollar lemon…

  2. Trilcat – Being that it happened in Germany, I find that story kind of creepy!

  3. Trilcat – Being that it happened in Germany, I find that story kind of creepy!

  4. Mother in Israel – As the child of a teacher, and also having been a teacher myself, I have to just add that it sounds as though your son spoke up in a very respectful way with the right intentions. However, when the correcting is not done respectfully or with the right intentions (as with anything), that trait is one of the most grating things to teachers, even those of us without any hubris-related need to always be right!

  5. mominisrael says

    RM–I can’t speak for the rest of the family, but I always disagreed respectfully. I didn’t do it every day either, and I generally had a good relationship with my teachers so they didn’t mind too much. I didn’t do it to make them look bad.

  6. RaggedyMom,
    It was an american school, american teachers. no need to be creeped out.

  7. teachers do not know everything. There is nothing wrong with them admitting that sometimes.

  8. We love the “Magic School Bus” books-even I enjoy all the interesting info they contain. We borrowed the “Beehive” book from the library a few years ago. Really fascinating!

  9. Rafi G – I agree with you. When I was teaching, I readily told my students when I was wrong about something, or when the answer was “I don’t know.” I was also (hopefully) open to their input, corrections, etc.
    My point was that there is a significant difference between a respectful, earnest attempt to correct a teacher’s incorrect statement if it happens to come up vs. an attitude that some students have of needing to undermine the teacher’s authority and “catch them” in a mistake.
    My remark to MiI was that her son’s experience seems to absolutely fall into the former category. Hopefully, unlike in this case, other teachers would put ego aside and be accepting of accurate information.

  10. I had this situation quite frequently when my knowledgeable-in-English kids were in English class being taught by non-Native speakers in Israel. I told them to tell the teacher after class, in private, if they wanted to correct them. Then it was up to the teacher to deal with it, without any need to challenge her authority in front of everyone.

    • Etana, I agree that in general teachers should be corrected in private. Sometimes, though, there are situations where the teacher will look even worse if not corrected immediately.