Sunday, February 10, 2008


A quick bit of background... Even though I live in an English speaking part of the big blue thing commonly known as Earth, the kids I teach, not a single one of them, speak English as their first language. However most of them speak a language that is so close to the English language that they don't know that they are not speaking English and as such have great difficulty in all areas of literacy. Which funnily enough can be found in all aspects of schooling.

Part 2 of the bit of background is that this particular bunch of joys I choose to spend my day with are somewhere between the ages of 6 and 7, and depending on what part of the planet you reside on, are in Grade 2, Year 2, Second Grade or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods.

By this stage in development students should be not far off reading and writing, again, depending on your neck of the woods. Lets just say that the peer group of my wonders of the world would be up to those things.

You are prepared for the fact that these rays of sunshine will be lower than where you would expect kids of that age to be. Even so there are always a few who stun you with how ridiculously little they know. The other day I had a group of these stunners and we were learning the alphabet. To start with, how the hell do you get to be 6 or 7 and not know the alphabet?! Seriously! Anyway, they don't, so I thought we'd see just how much (see, hear the optimism there? I said how much, not how little!) they knew. So in a group we sat down with some alphabet cards spread out between us and we worked together to put them in order.

Oooooooo the pain!!! Shit fire they couldn't even find me the letter a! Then after a particularly gruelling round of "Who can find me the letter b? No sweetie b. No, not d. No not p. No not v. Yep b. That's what I'm after. No that is the letter x..." at which point I grabbed the b and shoved it at the closest kid all but screeching "It's this one!" The letters c, d, e, f and g weren't much better. The kicker though was the next letter. Still foolishly full of optimism I asked, "a, b, c, d, e, f, g, who can tell me the next letter!?" Only 1 answered. Her answer?


That was the end of learning the alphabet that day.

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