Ethiopian Hair

I often work late at school and my desk is somewhat out of sight so I sometimes overhear students talking about things Not Meant for Teacher Ears.  Usually this merely piques my anthropological interest.  Occasionally, however, I overhear something that requires intervention.  Or not.  Consider a recent incident:

My grading trance is interrupted by an unknown boy saying sarcastically to another, “Your hair looks like Ethiopia!”  Sigh… I’m not sure what this means, but it can’t be good — somewhere on the spectrum from ignorantly inappropriate to overtly racist.  The student repeats it, louder, “Seriously, your hair looks like ETHIOPIA!”   The other student makes an unintelligible, but baffled-sounding response, while I get up and head to the commons with my stern face.  As I round the bend, he repeats it a third time, “Your hair really looks like Ethiopia…”  I’m surprised to see a seventh grader who didn’t strike me as the type to say this sort of thing — he’s a sophisticated, culturally sensitive boy.  I open my mouth, preparing to Summon him to a Conversation, when he continues, “…see, it’s kinda round here and has a thing sticking out on the right, just like we learned in geography!”  I close my mouth and they walk onward, discussing the shape of Ethiopia and other nearby countries.




All Aboard!

On a recent, chilly “spring” day, we headed to the Jackson Street Roundhouse with one of Griffin’s buddies from ECFE and his family. We knew there would be trains there, but holy cow! What a cool place! We got to explore real engines, old sleeper cars, and look at all kinds of train ephemera. A roundhouse, for those not in the know, is a circular or semi-circular structure built to service trains. This one used to service steam trains, but is no longer active and has been converted into a museum. Fortunately for us, they also give caboose rides on Saturdays, and this was probably the highlight of the trip for everyone. Having only seen “big choo-choo trains” from a distance, Griffin was in awe and had a blast.


Andrew and Griffin hang out the back of the caboose.
There goes the roundhouse!
A cold and rainy day, Griffin and Andrew decide to head inside.
What a cool ride!