The other night at ESL class, two of my students were talking, and though I didn't catch the context, I heard the boy say to the girl, "Is o.k. Remember: dis eez Ah-meh-ree-cah!" The girl started to protest or give some sort of exception, but the boy stopped her - put his hand up, closed his eyes, shook his head, and in a mock-solemn voice that reminded me of an addictions counselor, he said slowly, "No, yoo don' un-der-stan'. Dis... eez... Ah-meh-ree-cah. So no problem. No worry. Is ok. Dis eez Ah-meh-ree-cah."
I couldn't help but think of dancing mice in that classic American Tail: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bC07e7PReM
, and I just cracked up. I love that, whatever the issue was, its comfort and resolution was in the fact that "This is America." 'Nuff said.
Later on in class, I gave a reading response assignment for everyone to do on their own, and the boy seemed distracted and bored, so I asked him if he was finished already. "Oh, Miss Connie," he said in surprise, "We do alone? I think we do together!" I said, "No sir, we will check together later, but first you need to do your own work - in-dee-pen-dent! After all... this is Ah-meh-ree-cah!" Which led to the whole class laughing and mimicking: "Dis eez Ah-meh-ree-cah!"
I think we have a new class motto. :)