Monday, September 6, 2010

Kinder, Gentler, Kindergarten or It's Not a Tumor!

Hillbilly in Brazil Edition

     So following my Billy Madison-esque path through the Brazilian School system my first class on Friday was Kindergarten. Claudinei showed me the booklet we would be going over in the little people class which included todays lesson of body parts and a song titled Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. I told Claudinei that Kindergarten in America they pretty much just teach letters and numbers and then release us into the wild after half a day.
Stop Staring At Me Swan!!!

    Brazil is teaching the little munchkins English and Spanish at 5 years of age. I didn't tell him that in America we have a debate about having any other language taught let alone spoke in schools and when we do try and teach kids a language it is in High School and is French. Makes sense seeing that France borders the US and is one of our major trading partners in the world. I can't wait to get home, turn on my French Computer Le PC and watch things on my big screen LCD Monsieur Sony. Not to mention that most of the immigrants, legal and illegal come from France to escape persecution from Napoleon. I don't mean to go on about America but I think we are doing a disservice to ourselves by sticking our fingers in our ears and trying not to believe that other people speak different languages.
   I told the kids my name and how are you in Portuguese which never works. I think I say it right but no one sticks to the script. I say Oi and the kids always reply Hi in English and that fucks up the screenplay in my head but I think they are just excited to talk to someone who speaks English regularly. I sat in the back of the class feeling like a Giant in the little chair, I wonder if this is how a fat person thinks about movie theater seats or compact cars. We did the song, learned about body parts and then came time to color the picture of a boy we had used for the body part lesson. A few kids came back and asked me to say the colors in English and then tried to teach me the word in Portuguese until Claudinei shooed them back to their seats. The kids kept calling me Tio Shawn when they wanted my attention which sounds like Chill Shawn to my hearing impaired ears. Tio means uncle and is used as a term of endearment or so Ana and Claudinei tells me. The street urchins in Sao Paulo call the same thing when they see my camera wanting me to give them money or take pictures of their dead fish in a bag they are trying to sell. Good times.

    The next class was loaded with 5th graders and I had no Justin Bieber questions with this group as they were more interested in dressing up as figures from Brazil Independence from Portugal which happens to be September 7th. The class was learning how to say times in English and somehow I got roped into this activity with Claudinei writing my times on the board next to what the kids had answered. I got some mumblings from them when I said that I usually get up at 10am and go to sleep at 1 in the morning. Perks of being an adult I guess and living abroad. 
    Luckily my last class of the day was filled with 6th graders, Justin Beiber cards and questions so I didn't completely escape without a justinbieber, justinbieber, justinbieber. I tried to explain that in 4 years even they wouldn't care about Justin Bieber anymore and probably will have totally lost interest in carrying a stack of overpriced playing cards of his face everywhere they went. The kids need backpacks just to carry their Justin Bieber trading cards alone which is probably true for American kids as well. 

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