Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Homer-ic Teachings. (D'oh!)

I found out that Springfield, Vermont was the winner of the "real" home of Homer Simpson. (Springfield, Oregon came in 3rd. Boo, hoo...) For some reason, that amused me. And made me think of the one time Homer Simpson was actually helpful...

I was working in a remedial reading class, assisting a boy one one one. He was working on reading "The Little Red Hen". The teacher said, he is having some trouble with a few words, see what you can do. (I worked one on one, so the child had a lower stress time reading, I would make notes on what had been mis-pronounced, and we'd work on it...)

Sooooo, we start reading Red Hen. Everything's going smoothly, until he reaches the point where said roan colored poultry starts making the bread, and makes DOUGH.

"The little red hen makes the DOO-Gah."
"That's dough, hon."
"Oh, OK."
"Then the little red hen put the DOO-Gah in the pan."
"Uh. Dough, hon, the stuff bread is made of? Dough."

He did remarkably well with the rest of the story, and I asked him to read it to me again. He never seemed to mind this, and started the bird book again...

Then the dreaded DOO-Gah. Again.

I knew this was the trouble spot, and I knew he had a great memory, if I could link the word to something he knew. I tried the normal, this is what bread is made of, tried to explain the "gh" sound, (note to teachers, if you have someone working for you that reads English texts, remind them "plough" confuses the living CRAP out of American kids...) and a few other things, with NO result.



Finally, in a burst of insanity desperation inspiration, I said, "Say, hon, have you ever watched the Simpsons?"

The dam broke. Not only did he watch the Simpsons, he thought Bart was terrific, he wanted a sister like Maggie, but not Lisa, andandandandandand and...

Uh, OK. Easy quiz, kiddo, what does Homer say when he messes up?


"OK, great. See this word? Dough? When you see it, say it so it sounds like Homer's D'oh. OK?

"OH!! Dough?"


"Yes, hon, dough. Not DOO-Gah."

I was pleased. The connection had been made. Perhaps too well.

"Then the little Red Hen made the (LOUDLY) D'OH! And she kneaded the (LOUDLY)D'OH! And she put the (BELLOW)D'OH in the oven to bake...

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. He DID get it, but the reading of Little Red Hen in that manner was... Shall we say, unusual? About then, his teacher came in. Bless his heart, the little guy beams at his teacher, and says, I can read it through, no mistakes!!!" I am mortified. I hadn't had time to tell him not to bellow D'oh.

Oh, Gawd.

He proceeds to read to the teacher. D'OH! D'OH! D'OH! I watch, hoping I had a job when he finishes. The teacher had a rather strange expression when he finished. "My, that WAS a good reading. Um, perhaps I can borrow the IA (me) for a minute, you go find a toy, let's give you some free time for that great reading."

We walk out the door, and I am getting nervous, she hasn't said a word to me all the way out, and still has this odd expression on her face.

We go out of the classroom, she closes the door, and bursts into unrestrained, over the top laughter. "I LOVE IT! HE GOT THE WORD! I would have never thought of HOMER SIMPSON!"

You're not angry, I ask?

Angry? NO! I have been trying to get him to understand that for a week! Homer Simpson... Whereupon, she burst out laughing again.

It all worked out, except when I subbed in that school, the teachers, upon seeing me, would walk up, and instead of Hello, for the rest of the year, I was greeted with...



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