It's not much fun, reading the English compositions of American-born high school students. But recently-arrived immigrants
still struggling with a new language ... well, who else will tell you that "Madonna has been my favorite idol since she
became a virgin"?
Who else would confess that "my teachers pleaded with me to do better, but fell on death ears"? Declare that
"my teacher is very nice and I like his suitness"? Or complain that "my friends would pure pressure me"
and that "we exchanged some bad compliments towards each other"?
Most of the students soon learn what passes for correct English -- and probably a lot faster than most of us would learn,
say, Vietnamese, if thrust into a classroom in Vietnam. But in the meantime, teachers will discover immigrants such as the
San Francisco high school students who wrote those and other compositional gems.
The young writers' observations covered a wide range of subjects, religion among the most favored.
"I don't want to go to church every Sunday," confided one student, "because I feel bored when the Godfather
is talking about Jesus. But another professed that "I am very religious and my life is full of Joyce," and yet another
that "after mass activity, we always prey."
There also was a group that "sprayed together" and "a group of priests in the back of the building praying
silently for a piece."
Family was much on the students' minds. One described his mother as "nice, mean, and pregnant." Another revealed
that "the only personal experience I ever had came when I found out my father was from Mars."
They were philosophical, too. For instance:
"Death is just another time in life, but unfortunately it ends it."
"He is dead and is going to be like that for the rest of his life."
"Everyone has a memorial experience."
"If you want to be somebody, you should have your emberstation, emberstation means the aim of ones life."
"About making life decisions: You gain valves."
And young love -- what would a teenager be without love?
"They thought me and my girl friend were a cute coupon," explained one teen swain. "One day I found out
they were going together," said another -- "I was fastidious!" Still another disclosed that "she is the
kind of girl I like to intimated with." Oh, and the anguish of the student who "was so sprounge on her, I didn't
Sports were important, of course: "My favorite sporter is Joe Montana. His brian is very clam."
One student spoke of an adult who "showed me how to feed and hit a baseball." But another showed no interest
in team sports. "I like to go fishing," said he, "so I can play with myself."
This is not to mention the student who advised that "earthquakes and other natural disasters should be clearly planned
out in advance," the students who "all mose dide," who found "the sky was full of stairs," who thought
"San Jose was the nicest place I ever met," who complained "they would not submit me into the building."
Others had equally intriguing observations:
"It is typed in my head forever."
"It was the day I got hit by a cow."
"I've come to the convulsion."
"It was a case of straight-armed robbery."
"I turned up the volume of friendship."
"There were little white particulars falling from the ceiling."
"They always tired her hair up."
"I like to study copulation."
As befits a proper English class, there also were the usual dissertations on how students had spent their vacations.
"It was an enjoyable and forgetable summer," reported one young scholar who chose the ever-popular topic.
Copyright © Dick Meister