Teacher's Viral Tweet Reveals How Deep First-Graders Are

Bret Turner's riddle was about the letter 'e'; his student chose to link it to death
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2018 9:20 AM CST
Wrong answer...but was it really?   (Getty Images/skynesher)

(Newser) – A fun riddle a teacher posed to his students sent at least one of them spiraling into an existential abyss, with an answer as deep as it now is viral, the Washington Post reports. Bret Turner, who instructs first- and second-graders at the Head-Royce School in Oakland, Calif., gave his students this riddle: "I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I'm the beginning of eternity, the end of time & space. What am I?" The correct but "banal" answer, as Turner notes, is the letter "e," but one student had a different, more profound take.

"The first guess from one of my 1st graders was 'death' and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class that I didn't want to tell them" the real answer, Turner tweeted. That tweet has since received a few hundred thousand likes and nearly 80,000 retweets, spurring a follow-up tweet in which Turner offers other answers his big thinkers gave, including "'NOT everything,' 'all stuff,' 'the end,' and maybe my favorite, 'nothingthing.'" He says when he did reveal the actual answer, his young charges were "largely unimpressed."

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