Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Middle School Insights

So I've been a full time teacher now for 6 months and I have an observation. Well actually I have several, but only one I'm gonna talk about today.
And it is this: Middle School kids will believe anything you tell them. And actually, you don't even have to actually TELL them something, just imply it. For example: I have my middle school kids convinced that I not only speak Samoan (which I most definitely cannot) but that I also completely understand this ridiculous little language that they made up.  The best part is, I never actually told them I understand either of these, they just assume I do.  And you may be surprised to learn I accomplished all of this without lying to them. For the most part.
"Mr. Heintz, do you speak Samoan?"
"I go to Samoan language class every week."( This was the partial truth I just referred to. I've only been to that class once, but I figured they didn't need to know that.)
"Oh, really? What kind of stuff do they teach you?"
"Oh you know, all kinds of stuff."
"Oh." They think about this for a second. Then: "Like slang and stuff?"
"Like I said, they teach LOTS of stuff." Which is true, I just don't happen to know what any of it is.

And that was it. They no longer think it's safe to speak Samoan in front of me, which is perfectly alright with me since I have no clue what they are saying.
As for the incoherent made up language, you would think convincing them of my fluency in that would have been a lot more difficult. It was however, much easier.

One day, as they were conversing across the room in this ridiculous tongue, I glared at one of my students with my best "I know what you are up to" look and simply said "Jermichael" (name changed to protect identity, and because Jermichael is a way cooler name) and to my surprise he looks at me, and then goes "Shhh! Mr. Heintz understands us!" All their heads turned in unison to look at me, and each face's expression went through a progression that can best be described as, "No way, that can't be true. But, that is so crazy, it must be true. It is true! He Knows! and finally, How the heck did you do that Mr. Heintz?!"
And as they went through this progression in their minds, I sat there smugly with a look on MY face that said, "You're dang right I know."  That's me, Mr. Heintz, vanquisher of ridiculous, incoherent, unintelligible languages.  Haven't heard a peep in that foreign tongue since.

Now they just hold their folders up over their faces and whisper so I can't see. Im confident a solution will present itself.

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