02 April 2007

"The girls get shots in their spines and the boys get shots . . . somewhere else."

Culture shock:

The kids have physicals today during fourth period. I forgot to tell them about it in advance, so I rushed into Science, which was starting, and told them to line up because they had to go to the doctor.

The girls were going to have their spines checked for straightness and the boys were going to turn their heads and cough. I could go on about what gendered values these are, but enough already-

I joked with them, telling them that they were going to get shots with really big needles. The girls were scared and the boys just looked at me bug-eyed, not wanting to make a fuss less they seem wimpy.

What's strange is that if my sixth grade teacher had burst into the classroom and told me that I needed to line up and get a shot, I would have asked to speak to my parents first. These kids are all international in that they hold foreign passports and have attended schools in western countries (or Taiwan), but they can be very Chinese/docile/overly good when faced with orders.

Don't get me wrong: There are fistfights and they talk out of turn or show up late and without their homework. They roll their eyes and bully each other. I've overheard conversations about getting high (sex isn't on the agenda yet in middle school). But when authority speaks (or shouts through the loudspeakers around campus), they obey without question, regimented and trusting.

Is this because they're still young? Or is this part of the cultural inculcation?

betholindo at 11:30

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