Wednesday, October 18, 2006

all in a day's work

me: "since we're studying the middle east, we're going to learn about islam today."

pretty blonde freshman: "why do we have to learn about her? and who is she anyway?"

(me staring dumbfoundedly at pbf)

(pbf sees look on my face)

pbf: "j/k mrs. fisher, j/k! ['just kidding' for those of you out of the 15-year-old lingo] but... for real... where is that place?"

(realizing i have more work to do than i thought)

me: "try again. not a girl, not a place..."

pbf: "COUNTRY! it's a country!"

(other students start putting their heads in their hands, shaking them in disbelief)

me: "nope. a country is a place."

pbf: "building?"

finally another student says, "[pbf], it's a religion."

pbf: "oooohhhhhhhh....... that's right...."

me: "so can anyone tell me what people who follow this religion are called?"

one student answers, "muslims."

me: "that's right."

another pretty freshman: "i thought they were arabs."

me: "no. that's their ethnicity, if they're from the middle-eastern region."

apf: "oh. so don't they speak muslim?"

me: "no. muslim is an adherant of islam."

apf: "so what do they speak?"

me: "well, if they're arab, they would speak arabic. if they're american, they would speak english."

apf: "so what do arabs speak?"

me: "arabic."

apf: "i thought that's what muslims spoke."

this led into a conversation about how, as one student pointed out to another, we don't speak american; we speak english (apparently new information). i used the example of how people from mexico- mexicans- don't speak mexican; they speak spanish. this led into a conversation about the differences between spaniard, mexican, hispanic, and latino.

apf: "so what do latinos speak?"

me: "spanish."

apf: "so who speaks latin?"

me: "no one. latin is a dead language."

apf: "WHAT???? how can a language be dead? and why are they called latinos if they don't speak latin?"

i quickly answered the question and moved on to the lesson on islam. about half-way through, the notes containted some text unknown to the students.

pbf: "what are those squiggly lines?"

another student: "that's arabic."

pbf: "ooohhhhh...... so that's what muslims speak?"

update: pbf just came into my classroom to ask me a question about her grade. just to prove what she had learned, she said, "islam is a country... NO... i mean... religion." she sighed proudly. "good job," i said. "and what are the people who follow islam called?" "arabs." "no." "oh...uh....muusssllliiiiims?" what a feeling of accomplishment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sounds like a Saturday night Live skit