Tuesday, April 20, 2010

That's What She Said

I was doing my normal test prep with one of my 8th grade classes. We were working on the Reading/Writing part, in which students read two passages and answer some short answer questions and then write an essay. I decided to give my students two brief biographies to compare--Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.

They were somewhat challenging passages, as biographies often are. I was teaching my lower functioning class, but they seemed to be making progress. Until Michael raised his hand.

"What is it, Michael?"

"This Ameria Earhart," said Michael, with a puzzled look on his face. "Is he a man or a woman?"

I expected the rest of the class to laugh at him, because the passage clearly referred to Amelia as "she" approximately 4,639 times. Instead, they all looked at me, as if to say "Yeah...that's a good question!!!"

I referred Michael and his curious peers back to the story and pointed out the pronoun references. Michael eyed me suspiciously. "So that means she's a girl, right?"

I have no idea how a child can get to the 8th grade and still be so anatomically incorrect, so to speak. All I could think of at that moment was how my Teacher Data Report would be tied to Michael and his peers. Every year I am surprised by what kids don't know. You can't teach everything. It's impossible to get it all in.

That what she said.


California Teacher said...

Were there images of Amelia accompanying the text? Maybe the kid thought she was trans-gender, and based upon background knowledge was posing a clarifying question.

ed notes online said...

"I was teaching my lower functioning class"

A major no-no in BloomKleinville where there are no low functioning classes or children. Clearly the reading problem you describe is due to your low expectations.

I actually know a teacher who spent 15 months in the rubber room for making a statement like this to one of the principal's worms.