Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Say what?

I've talked about X. before. He's my ESOL student and he's just adorable. He came from Guatamala; he's only been here for 2 years but he really speaks English pretty well, considering.

However, every now and then I do have to explain certain words and concepts. He didn't know the word "glove," for example (and living in Guatamala and then Florida, why would he?). Every now and then, as I'm teaching, he'll raise his hand and say, "What is a _______?" I sometimes take for granted that he'll know what, to me, are "basic" English words. And he often has a hard time with what we call "academic vocabulary"--science-specific words, for example. But it's all a completely normal part of the learning process (as I'm learning in my Masters classes).

I needed to give you some backstory so that you can fully appreciate this moment in class today.

Our school is having a "Jump Rope for Life" charity event, where the kids get sponsors and (duh) jump rope to raise money for the American Heart Association. I was explaining that they get pledges from their sponsors, collect money, etc. The kids had a lot of questions about how this worked. They kept asking me what we're "selling." Finally, X. raised his hand and asked another clarifying question. This time, however, he almost knocked me on my ass.

"Miss Krzys, is this obligatory?" he innocently asked.

"X.!!!!" I exclaimed. "WHERE did you learn that word??!" I have NEVER heard a student, of any age, use that word. Hell, I don't think I've ever heard an ADULT use it, let alone a kid who just came to this country last year.

Anyway, at the emphaticness of my response, X. gasped, opened his eyes really wide and clapped his hands over his mouth. "Oh no," he said. "Was that a bad word?!"

I laughed. "No, sweetie," I reassured him. "I'm just amazed and impressed that you know that word at all. It's a VERY fancy word, especially for 5th grade. Where did you learn it?"

He looked at me, grinned, shrugged his shoulders and said, "From TV."

Who said television wasn't educational?


sparkydiva said...

that is just about the sweetest thing e.v.e.r.

Renee said...

I'm a little choked up! That is SO cute and HOW PROUD were you to hear him say that?! That's so cool.

Renee said...

LOL. I also wonder what he's watching that would teach him the word "obligatory".

Nik said...

Oh how cute. I would have loved to see his reaction to your reaction. That "Oh shit, I just messed up look". That's so cool that he used one of the few words in the English language that hardly ever gets used, too. X is well on his way to mastering English, I'd think.

Jen said...

Today I was explaining the word "pressure" and he goes,

"Oh, you mean like what happens to your head when you get mad like the Incredible Hulk?"


Renee said...