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Whining Reader September 13, 2009

Posted by mrsmerritt in Lessons Learned, Other random stuff.
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On Wednesday Vicky called to me “Mrs. Merritt, can I not read today and watch and laugh at the class instead?” Vicky is one of my native speakers. She was waving the first of the Magic Treehouse books in Spanish in her hand.

I turned and answered dramatically “noooooooo”. By the time I was done dragging out the word we had the attention of the whole class.

“But reading is hard” she whined.

“I know” and I actually was sympathetic. “So is learning Spanish for my other students.”

At this point the discussion involved everyone in the room and they were on the edge of their seats waiting to see how this conversation played out.

“You don’t understand. That was the very first book I ever read in Spanish.” She pleaded, referring to one of the Blaine readers.

“I know” I answered. And I really did know. I continued very gently. “But what were you thinking, and I really want to know, when you elected a class that said ‘Conversational Spanish. Not appropriate for native speakers. I know that is what it says in the catalog, because I wrote it. You speak Spanish in your home so when you read that, and selected it on the computer, what was running through your head?”

Her eyes were darting around as she looked for some reasonable answer. Coming up short she offered “I don’t know.”

Scooter, an out spoken 8th grade boy sitting in the cheap seats piped up “You picked this class because you thought it would be a blow off class.”

Finally someone articulated what everyone in the room knew was true.

Vicky weakly tried to defend herself with a shake of her head.

Then my teacher’s assistant chimed in with a laugh “That’s why I picked the class last year, I’ll admit it. I thought it would be an easy A.” My teacher’s assistant this year was one of my heritage readers last year.

Vicky completely deflated at this point and murmured “I’ll just read now” as she thumbed open her book.

I turned to the class and began, “Bueno clase, comenzamos.”

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