I was teaching in Plashet Grove Secondary School, East Ham, at a time when immigration levels were very high.
I had a class of children who needed individual care for a wide variety of reasons- among them health problems, deafness,difficulties with concentration,and the problems of dealing with English as a second language.Within the group I had diabetic twins, an epileptic,a child with high frequency deafness(she could not hear 's' or 't'),and a little girl who was not growing and had very brittle bones; as well as several who found reading almost impossible. One of my pupils was from India. She had some English and was an earnest, serious child with parents who hoped for great things for her.
It was essay time,and we had had snow. For one of the girls this was the very first time she had ever seen snow,and her astonishment was a joy to see. We decided to make a book about snow, and everyone was writing in white pencil on black paper. Quietly little Balbir came up to my desk. "Please, Mrs. Deal, how do you spell 'cupboard'?"
Brilliant! An interesting word! I told everyone to put down their pencils and made a meal of it. "You can always remember this word. CUP and BOARD, cupboard. Think of opening the cupboard and there are the cups,stood on the shelf - cup and board". Balbir gave me a puzzled look, but returned to her seat and went on with her essay.
After the lesson I turned to Balbir's neat,careful piece of work.
It began,confidently: 'In England in winter the ground is all cupboard in snow'.......