Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Life in the Dirty South

My 8th period class is what I call "The Dirty South". The majority of my kids do not hail from Texas but rather Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, etc. My favorite, a skinny little big mouth boy, made his way here from Arkansas. And his thick country accent makes me smile each and every time he talks to me. He drawls out words, drops letters, and basically mangles up everything I try to teach him. Then you add in a little whine and some lip smacking, and you're there. You might have to read the following exchange out loud to get it just right.

Here's today's installment of Life in the Dirty South:

I overhear Arkansas arguing with a group of girls while they're supposed to be doing their review. After a decade of teaching, I don't even have to look up to know they're not working; I can tell from the low hisses and super-speedy talk that they are up to no good.

Me: Arkansas, what on Earth are you doing now?

Arkansas: Miss! These girls be tryin' to get me to flex! And I toolllddd them you'd ketch me and chew me up you be so mad at me.

Me: What is it you're planning to flex?

Arkansas: (incredulously) My muscles!

Me: And why would I "ketch you and chew you up" just for flexing your "muscles". (Brief interlude while I explain "air quotes" to one of my other kids who replied, "I had a feelin' you'd be doin' somethin' sarcastic.")

Arkansas: Weeellllll... if start flexin' then them girls gon' be gettin' all worked up and start sweatin' over me. Then that's gon' make the room all stanky. (Smug look as if he's made perfect sense while every girl falls out. Literally, falls out of the chairs laughing.)

Me: Annnndddd....?

Arkansas: And you ALWAYS be gettin' own us if we be stanky up in here.

Me: Ohhhh.... I see where you're going. Good point, Arkansas. I do not like stanky kids.

Arkansas: Thass right. Noooo flexin' here today. I cain't be making teacher mad. Not 'for grades come out. Show. Is. Over. (Big, wide smile as he pushes up his sleeves to discreetly start flexing his little pipe cleaner arms as he struts back to his chair.)

Me: (Head on desk)

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