When Chip’s son was a fourth-grader, he came home one day and announced that he had a new teacher assistant.
“Did your old teacher assistant leave?” Chip asked.
“No,” he replied, “Mrs. Greer is still there.”
“What’s your new teacher assistant’s name?” Chip asked.
Without looking up from kicking his soccer ball, he responded matter-of-factly: “Tommy.”
Chip instantly knew this was weird. Fourth-graders don’t refer to their teachers by their first names. Tenth-graders use teachers’ first names as an act of rebellion; twelfth-graders do it to sound grown up and cool. But most fourth-graders are not interested in being rebellious or cool.
As it turned out, Tommy was a sixth-grader and a part of a cross-age ...