We hosted a high school fair earlier in the week, with magnet schools and those charter high schools that are not blatantly failing. IB came, and the next day I discussed the program and application process with as a follow-up at lunch. I felt dumb talking to these kids, and they were giving me some weird looks, because I'm just not used to interacting with students who 1) Speak fluent English; 2) understand everything I say instantly; 3) process the information I provide and begin using it as a foundation to develop new questions and insights. It's like I've lost some fundamental ability to converse intelligently and provide information at another other than a snail's pace. At one point I said, "I'm talking too slowly and repeating myself too much, huh?"
And they all nodded.
Honor Society Night saw a packed house and another successful program. I get freaked out by the kids who say, "I'm not supposed to be on the 3.5 honor roll. I got a B+ in Algebra. I didn't mean it. I'm not supposed to be here." I nod and say I understand and ask them to take a deep breath. "I won't be here next quarter," they say. "I'll do better." It will all be okay, I say, just relax.
Sixty kids were redesignated as fluent English speakers, which makes everyone get those warm fuzzys, because it carries with it the opportunity to be on "college track" in high school, taking real classes. You watch the kids come up to get their redesignation certificate, and it's a bizarre collection of the kids who've been speaking English for 2-3 years and a realizing a culmination of tremendous effort and success, and these kids who have been fluent for far longer than you've been a teacher, it's just nobody bothered to fill out the paperwork for redesignation before.
D. (yesterday): Is Saturday Academy at 8:30 or 9:30?
ME: There is no Saturday Academy this week.
D. (shaking his head slowly and thoughtfully): Dude.* That's just weird.
*I think it's quite possible, that along with critical academic vocabulary like support, describe, explain, analyze, compare, contrast, and justify, I have also taught this student the word "dude."