Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How I Am Bilingual

Did you need proof other than the 15 ADD boys or the gang members in Debate that the counselors hate me?

Maybe the fact that she sent a girl from China who has been in the States 1½ months to join Fake Kid Government Club would prove the point.

Here's a sort of transcript for our conversation:

Me (in a louder voice, with bigger eyes, and many hand movements--a sort of bug eyed, hearing impaired hula): Do you know what court is?

Her: "Ahhhh..." (head buried in pocket translator)

Me (still with the hula): "A court? Court? Court?" because as you know, repeating a word a child has never heard will often endow her with a sudden and full understanding of its meaning. Then I think, "A lawyer!?!"

Her: "Lawyer! I know lawyer!"

We celebrate this victory a moment

Me: "Well, we pretend to be lawyers!"

Her: "Pretend? Uh..." again with the translator and she looks up, puzzled as to why we'd pretend to be lawyers "Pretend?"

Me: "Yes, yes!!!” Bolstered by this success, I attempt to explain Mock Legislature. “Now, do you know...uh...lawmaker?"

Her (clearly anticipating the "pretend lawmaker" explanation and already baffled): "Yesss... Lawmaker?"

Me: "Our students” (Big eyes! Loud voice!! Hand gestures!!) “pretend to do that also."

Girl Across the Room Who Owns Ferrets: "Ms. E--you forgot to tell her about the media branch!!"

I attempt to singe her eyebrows off with a look across the room that indicates I quite have enough on my hands, thank you, ferret girl.

And I begin the hula again

"So you might think about it. We have a lot of fun. It's ok if you aren't sure, though. We are just glad you came today!"

Her: "Uh...yes."


The Crib Chick said...

You should think about becoming a UN translator. :o)

"We pretend to be lawyers..."

Don't you love those moments of clarity, when you have to distill what you do into a sentence?

Jen said...

This is either what some people(those who see teaching as a secular calling, akin to becoming a monastic of some type) call "a teachable moment" or what others (maybe those who think they see Elvis in their pancakes)see as a cue to exit, stage left, to greener pastures where there are no desks, bells, whiteboards, or contraband cell phones.

I'm just sayin'...