Saturday, March 04, 2006

Multicultural Teacher Moment of the Month

One of my colleagues keeps hearing music in his classroom. Just that slight, scratchy, edge that lets you know some kid in the room has earphones on.

He searches high and low. He checks everyone out. He hunts. The kids giggle.

Finally, he realizes what's going on. One of the Afghan girls has on earphones under her hijab.

We have a bunch of Afghan kids at the school. About half of the families are observant enough that the girls cover their hair. The style of choice is a cotton-knit pull-over hood thing that pulls over your head and shoulders, and your face pokes out the front...I think in Iran this is called a maghnaeh, or something like that. The little girls buy them in a variety of colors, the grown-up women I've met seem to prefer black.

The student in question had slipped in her earbuds, run the cord down under the scarf and her sweater, to the IPod in her jeans pocket. No sweat, and when she was done listening to the lecture, she turned up her tunes and began to groove out.

Middle schoolers are remarkably resourceful. We won't let kids wear hoods up in class for exactly this reason, but of course, the headscarves need to be allowed. I cracked up. Must be boring to teach in a monocultural town.


David said...

Intellectual diversity tops multicultural. Hands down.

Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

They're middle schoolers. They don't have intellects, let alone intellectual diversity. But we can hope for the future. In the meantime, multicultural is a fact on the ground, here in Unidentified East Bay Unified School District.