Thursday, November 20, 2014

Faking in Spanish

Remember Juan? I do.

It was 3rd period, and I called the roll. Juan responded with, "Aqui".

I don't much care how students respond to roll call as long as they respond to their names. I just need an indication of who is present in the room. On occasion I'll call a student name, and the student will reply with, "What?" I respond, "Taking roll," and continue on.

So, a response in Spanish doesn't even merit a raised eyebrow with me.

It was only after when Juan and I spoke about something else (I don't even know if I asked him something or he just voluntarily started talking) that I noticed that he was exclusively speaking in Spanish.

Upon further inquiry, Juan claimed (in Spanish) that he didn't speak any English. (Don't ask how I figured out the gist of this as I didn't take Spanish in school. I think another student chimed in to "help". And I do understand snippets from time to time.)

I do encounter students who speak no English in various classes. Usually they have a buddy helping them. And we make do. But there were two reasons I did not believe Juan.

Number 1: Students who don't speak English don't get sent to the continuation high school. Yes, there are several who are not fluent and the school offers ELD classes, but the true newcomers are so new they haven't had a chance to fail enough classes to get sent out.

Number 2: I met Juan before. In other classes. Where he spoke to me in fluent, unaccented English.

Once class was started, I approached Juan to talk to him about the whole not-able-to-speak-English lie. He started with a bunch of words I did not recognize, but ended with something about Espanol fluency. And that's when I had him.

Juan turned to the girl next to him. "How do you say 'fluency'?"

Later Juan blamed me for breaking his record. He had been doing well up until I questioned him.

Ah well. Once he stopped the whole Spanish-only thing, he could have done what he was supposed to be doing--writing an article for the school newspaper. (Oh, did I forget to mention that this class was the journalism class?)

Although, he didn't really get much of anything done. That girl sitting next to him? He spent the period flirting with her.


  1. Un-be-lievable! I want to smack a kid like that, a true brat, who thinks school is a joke and it's okay to disrespect a teacher.

    1. It didn't seem like disrespect to me. He was joking around, true, but not at my expense.

  2. Typical trying to mess with the sub. Good catch on the fluency thing. I guess he wasn't expecting a sub who could use common sense :P.

  3. Is this the Juan who changed the school policy on backpacks? He sounds like a lady's man too. He'd probably make an excellent politician with his smarminess!

    1. Yep, it's the same Juan. Which is why I had to post both of these stories back to back. And I didn't even include the part where he spent the rest of the period flirting with the girl sitting next to him.

  4. Makes you want to hang around Juan and learn Spanish from him :)


  5. Oh I would want to trip him when he walks in the halls. He thinks he is the cat's meow and one day will either be president of the U.S. or a used car salesman


I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.