Thursday, June 11, 2009

Disarming Cuteness

A couple months ago, I had to administer a test to a group of freshmen, most of whom were not my own students. Initially, I was dreading it. Earlier in the year, I had had this same group of kids for another standardized test and they had proven rowdy and rude. This second time, however, I saw a different side to them.

It started the afternoon when we were discussing what movie we should watch during the lag time that the other grade levels were taking their tests. Somebody mentioned The Aristocats, and within minutes, a very macho football player was hopping from one foot to another singing, "do mi so do do so mi do..." and a female student joined him. They walked around, oblivious to any attention, happily singing this tune. Anyone that sees this as perfectly natural behavior for freshmen hasn't observed high school freshmen in awhile, particularly these. Not only do many of them look much older, they are far too cool to be singing cutsey little songs. And I later learned that this particular football player, who looks like a junior at least, is more known for being cocky than for singing Disney tunes.

Mystified by their uncharacteristics childlikeness, I paid close attention to The Aristocats, and when the song came on I totally got it.

Since then, I have found myself singing the song, stopping short of hopping from one foot to another; there is something addictive about it. Kudos to the animators and musicians of this movie for breaking the tough exterior of a high school football player.

Incidentally, this sort of set the tone for the week, and I had such a great week with these kids that I didn't want to see them leave. Next time I have a bad class, I think I'll break out The Aristocats.

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