Saturday, December 3, 2011

They all look the same to me

After a while in elementary schools, you learn that kids speak their own language. "I like your dress" becomes "You look like a princess!" while "I dropped my pencil on the floor and don't feel like looking for it" becomes "Someone stole my pencil from my desk!" If you spend enough time among the natives you learn the key phrases to get you through the day. However, it is nearly impossible to "go native" because the locals are so wary of outsiders. Do they enjoy having some new faces to talk to at recess? Sure. But they will never accept you as one of them.

I learned this after months of being told, "Are you related to Mrs. (insert name of whoever I'm covering that day)? You look just like her!" I hear this almost every time I sub for a female teacher. Please note that almost every teacher has photos in their classroom. I can see what the teachers actually look like. Except for some chromosomal similarities, there is rarely a resemblance. But as far as kids are concerned, two grown up women with long hair may as well be long-lost twins. So there you have it: the outgroup homogeneity effect isn't just for racism anymore! It's also vogue among ageist prepubescents who really want to make smalltalk with substitutes. As long as I don't get compared to a hunchback, I suppose I'm okay with it. 

I do still need translations for a few phrases, though; could anyone tell me how to say "Please be quiet while I'm giving directions" in kidspeak?

1 comment:

  1. I would try, "Shhh! Be quiet or you won't hear where I hid the pony!"