Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Thus spake one of my young charges last week. I didn't argue.
I said, "You want to say, I'm smarter than you. Say it."
I then made her repeat it several times until she got it right. The "th" sound is tough for non-English speakers, and doesn't seem to exist in those my kids speak. I sometimes say words like "think," making a great show of sticking out my tongue, which the kids think is ridiculous. Perhaps they're right, but I don't know how you make that sound without sticking your tongue out.
Anyway, I finally got the girl to say it correctly. She really is very smart, thinking all the time. I have to keep an eye on her because I really have no idea what she'll do next. She's always finishing assignments quickly, and running up to the board drawing pictures of ducks and hamburgers and things. One of my lost boys, who does not participate, does not do homework, does not much bother with tests, dutifully copies everything on the board, and has got a running record of every scribble she's produced since September.
"I'm smarter than you," she announced.
She may very well be, for all I know. We haven't yet gone head to head on IQ tests or anything.
"That could be," I admitted. "But I don't have to be smarter than you. I only have to know more English than you."
It was true. And for one shining moment, the girl was speechless, and I got the last word.
It won't last, of course. But we have to take our victories where we can.