Thursday, June 26, 2003
Here is what my lesson sounded like to my kids today:
Me: "What we are going to blah blah blah blah is blah blah blah HAPPY!" (as I jump around and smile and laugh)
Students: "Ok, Miss."
Me: "So if you are blah blah blah ANGRY you would blah blah blah FUCK THEM UP blah blah blah, yes?"
The room erupts in laughter.
Let me explain. I grew up with a Spanish speaking parent. However, I never really learned to speak Spanish. But my co-teachers and I decided last night that we would try adding as much Spanish as we could, in order to teach these kids. I thought to myself, "That's great! I know a lot of Spanish words from Mom!"
My objective was to teach my students how to recognize internal traits (happiness, sadness, anger, etc.) in others in order for them to be able to do the same in a text. So I am showing them things they might do or say if they were happy or angry. The happy part went just fine. Then I thought about how when people in my family were talking about getting in a fight, they used the word "chingasos". When I began to show my kids what anger looked like, I said "So if you are angry, you might say to someone 'I will give you some chingasos". Then they laughed and the other teacher in the room who really does speak Spanish looked at me like I had just torn up a picture of the Pope.
As it turns out, for those of you who don't speak Spanish, "chingasos" actually means something very close to "I am going to fuck you up". Because my students don't speak English, that phrase is probably the only thing they understood that I said all day. Can you imagine their confusion?
I do think that this is funny. I KNOW the kids think it is funny. My mom, who taught me that word to begin with, REALLY thinks it's funny.
Being a teacher is a bit of a nightmare. The people here at Houston Institute of Teach for America are dropping like flies...or so the rumor mill makes it seem. I pass by sobbing people all of the time. It is amazing how stressful a room full of kids can be and how much damage not enough sleep can do to a group of people. Sometimes it feels like a science experiement where they are just pushing to see how far we can all go before we crack up completely.
I am tired of Houston. I want to be somewhere where people are talking to me about chakras and energy and where everyone knows Bush sucks and is bad for humans. I even want a bowl of brown rice and some Bragg's and that's just not like me.
But I have met some really cool people. And in the end, all of this will fade and the people will remain. My life is always like that. ¶ 3:20 PM