In the story, the gryphon is an imaginary monster. The gryphon is an animal that Miss Ferenczi saw when she visited Egypt. She states that the monster is half an eagle and half a lion. In the story, the inner meaning of the gryphon is that it relates to the real world. In other words, she meant that a gryphon is a part of the world, but these parts of the world get combined for the purposes of creating an imaginary, new thing that is non existent in the world. The main reason why she does not give out the real meaning is to make the students think deeply of the gryphon. At a certain time in the story, she suggests to the class to consider a notion that “six times eleven is equals sixty-eight”, by using this phrase, she tries to substitute facts with fiction. She meant that substituting a fact is simply wrong, but they are just products of imagination. She has a positive perception that the young people should be exposed to exotic facts and reality. She also meant that the world is a world of concrete objects, and should perceive it in an optimistic manner.
How Miss Ferenczi was different
Miss Ferenczi is remarkably different compared to the other teachers in Five Oaks, who are from the rural community. She is said to have an extraordinarily, awkward personality. The story describes her as an unusual woman. She comes to school well dressed with a different hairstyle every day. For example, she came with different hairstyles such as the chignon, pigtails, and in other days, she came with uncombed hair. She gets described as a woman who dresses exceptionally vibrant. Tommy states that, Miss Ferenczi reminded him of Pinocchio. The teacher also differs from the other teachers on hr teaching methods. The students consider her to be jovial in class compared to other teachers.
In addition to these, Miss Ferenczi is from the urban area unlike the other teachers who are from the rural areas. She does odd things contrary to what others expect of her. However, she always has She has legitimate reasons why she does them. When asked by Maxine Sylvester why she was eating raw spinach, she explained herself in a simple manner. She tells Maxine Sylvester that taking raw spinach is healthy and it is more stimulating than taking soda or smelling salts. (Kirszner and Stephen 260)
Another difference is evident where Miss Ferenczi uses different teaching methods in her class. For example, she uses imagination so as to stimulate the students to think broadly and deeply about the world. She uses an example of the gryphon and lets them think deeply even after they are off from school. In the bus, Tommy and Carl have discussions of the lessons they learnt from Miss Ferenczi class. Carl says that the gryphon does not exist and concluded that the teacher is a liar. On the other hand, Tommy is doubtful and when he gets home he takes out the dictionary and checks out the meaning of gryphon. He gets the meaning and understands that a gryphon is a good creature with a lion body and an eagle’s head. Out of this, teachers make the students to research about what they learn in class. She makes them understand about the inner meaning of the gryphon. She also says that six times eleven is sixty-eight, by doing so she exposes the students of her class to extraordinary facts as a way of letting them expand their sense of wonder.
Using creativity as a teaching tool helped Ms Ferenczi tto make her students think of the world diversely. Tommy is one student who was affected and as a result, begun thinking critically about what he learnt from Miss Ferenczi class. By using creativity to teach the class, she brings out the new thoughts to the society. (Kirszner and Stephen, 260)
Miss Ferenczi can either be viewed as a moral or an incompetent teacher from the story. In the first instance, It can be concluded that Miss Ferenczi was an awful teacher because she taught her students by instilling fear in them. For example, in the story she uses the fortune cards and when playing she tells Wayne, a friend to Tommy, that he was going to die. Wayne does not take this lightly. By using the fortune cards, she does more harm than good to the students. This was one of the reasons why she got fired and class was back to the usual way of learning. (Kirszner and Stephen , 260)
On the other hand, it can also be concluded that Miss Ferenczi was an excellent teacher. Miss Frenncazi taught Tommy on how to be imaginative and to view life in different perspectives. Tom views her as a hero because she intrigued him and encouraged him to stretch his mind and think for himself. Tom realizes that the world can not stop turning if facts get substituted with ideas. Moreover, he discovers that freedom helps him to face fear. When the teacher reads out the tarot cards, he is not afraid, unlike his friend Wayne who panics and tells his principle. Therefore, Tom will remember his teacher in the future as a teacher who taught him to think for himself and question anything he doubts. By using a different way to teach her students, Miss Ferenczi made the kids learn and understand how imagination can be related to the real world.