But every now and then they shock us in a far more pleasant way, which is exactly what happened to primary school teacher Bret Turner on the first day of term.
Having set a ‘puzzle of the week’ for his year-two students, instead of leaving the class dumbfounded and searching for the answer (which is ‘e’ by the way), one child opted for a far more profound reply.
WhenTurner posed the riddle: “I am the beginning of everything, the end of everywhere. I’m the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space. What am I?”
One of his pupils had an instant answer:
“The first guess from one of my first graders was ‘death’ and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the class,” he wrote.
Maybe the child had had some time to think over the Christmas break?
Writing on Twitter, the teacher from Albany, California, US, continued: “I didn’t want to tell them actually the answer is the letter ‘e’, which just seemed so banal in the moment.”
Commenters all agreed that it was a somewhat impressive (if not moderately concerning) response from such a young brain.
Turner, who also has two children of his own, a three-year-old daughter, 3, and a six-year-old son, has also shared other teaching moments on his social media.
Well done Mr Turner.