Thursday, January 15, 2009

Complete a Sentence

Lunch time. I enter my room to pick up my Trader Joe's BBQ salad.

A half dozen kids sit at their desks. This is unusual, at the sound of the lunch bell the kids typically rip out of the room like wild hyenas. During 2nd my co-worker and roommate Ms. Garcia holds a class in our room. Being special ed we don't get our own rooms, we have to make do and share.

Garcia is a crusader, a Teach for America Intern who worked for Barack Obama during his Senate campaign before he was widely known. She has a picture on her desk to prove it.

At this moment, however, she is furious. The kids remain still. Finally one of them speaks.

"Because, because..."

"You can't start a sentence with because." Garcia intones, irritated.

"But I can't Miss!"

"You also can't start a sentence with a conjunction. If you want to leave here, you'll speak to me in one complete sentence."

The students remain seated, stumped. These truly are the dirty dozen.

"You want them to write a complete sentence?" I ask.

"No, I want them to speak in a complete sentence."

I blink, stare wildly in disbelief. "None of you can speak a complete sentence?"

"We try," Juan speaks up, "but it's hard. Hey, was that a sentence?"

Garcia's adamant. "No. No subject."


"Expletive's are not a complete sentence."

One of the students gets up, approaches her. "Today I learned about stuff like reading and writing and we learned how to do that thing like figure out words that we don't understand."

Garcia stares at him. He grins, hopeful. "No."

"But I spoke!"

"Run on, and you used the word "stuff".

I look at the clock. The students have been sitting here for ten minutes.

"Miss, can't we just speak in complete sentences another time?"

"Edwin, you can go. That was a sentence."

Edwin rises, delighted. "It was? See ya suckers!"

A couple of students turn to me, hoping for a tip. I eat a mouthful of salad.

No one's going anywhere for a while.

Wish I had a snicker's.

No comments:

Post a Comment