Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lies my students tell me

Lying was one of those behaviors related to poverty that was discussed in the orientation months ago. The kids make stuff up constantly, ranging from little things to inventing elaborate tall tales. There’s a lot of chicanery surrounding snack time, because the kids are always trying to figure out how to get more food. I spend a good portion of my time at the program sounding out phonetically spelled words on flashcards, but I also hear some stories.

NOTE: As a Japan blogger, I was a little lax with pseudonyms, because most Japanese people in my life hardly ever used the internet, and even if they found my blog, they wouldn’t understand it. I generally only had pseudonyms for people I talked a lot of shit about, and sometimes for kids. Now that I’m in America, I have to be a lot more careful, so if I’m talking about kids or anyone associated with my work, I’m definitely using pseudonyms. If there’s an issue that’s particularly sensitive, I won’t even identify the person with a pseudonym, lest that make them more identifiable. Anyway, let’s get to my lying kids.

I was going through flashcards with Yusuf, and we were sounding out the word “pet”. I asked him if he had any pets, even though I knew his family and was pretty sure he didn’t.

Yusuf: Yes, I just got a boy cat.

Me: Really? What’s his name?

Yusuf: (looking at his shirt) Uhhh, I call him Batman.

After reading a short passage about a lost cat with a red tag, I asked Halima if she had any pets.

Halima: I used to have a dog, her name was Oranges and we had to make a tag for her because she was on shows and sometimes she got lost, and she was the color orange, and now you can see her in shows, she’s on the TV, on shows, and no, I don’t have a dog. I hate dogs. They’re nasty.

Little girl: My mom’s taking me to the Mall of America this weekend.

This girl’s mom was in jail at the time, and had been for a while.

Haley and I came across the word “wept” in our flashcards, and she asked me what it meant. I explained to her what it meant to “weep”, and how “wept” is the past tense, but not in those words because she doesn’t know “past tense”.

Haley: So like I wept when my grandparents died?

Me: Yes! That’s exactly right. That’s a good example.

Haley: They both had guns, grandma had a gun and grandpa had a gun, and they were really mad, and they were shooting and shooting, and they ended up shooting each other and they both died!

Me: Wow. When did that happen?

Haley: Four-hundred-ninety-eight years ago.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. I don't know if there can be better insights into our societies than the lifestyles of children- and hell, I know my life would far more exciting if every time I met someone they told me stories similar to the guns-blazing grandparent double homicide.

4:18 PM  

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