An interesting thing happened to me this week. I’ve been asked to teach a song to kids in Irish. (Irish is a crazy, crazy language. It doesn’t look as it sounds AT ALL. And it has some sounds in it I’m not really used to.) Apparently there’s this song that every kid in Ireland learns. Every Irish teacher I work with knows it. It’s pretty catchy. It’s here if you want to listen to it.
So I spent a long time on Sunday trying to learn it. I felt a little like I was swallowing marbles at one point. It took ages. I like to think that I am on the bright side of regular intelligence, but it took forever. I knew I had to be able to sing it pretty confidently to teach it.
Monday’s choir rehearsal came around. 50 kids in front of me. Lots of them don’t read very well. Lots of kids who struggle in the classroom. Off I went, getting them to say each word, say each line, sing each line…. In 20 minutes they’d learned it. That’s right. TWENTY. About a fifth of the time it took me.
“Can we sing this without you, Rachel?” asks one cheeky tacker. “You’re not so good at it.”
I loved watching these kids that don’t do well at NAPLAN, that don’t engage with maths so much, that don’t really engage with reading, writing or ‘rithmetic NAIL singing this song. And it reminded me that I should never ever presume that children I see can’t do something. And that children think completely differently.
Bhí siad den scoth. (OK – I’ve put it into Google translate. It’s probably wrong. But it does say, in Irish “They were excellent.”)