My students have made a new song. It’s really simple, ready to learn?
It goes: “Miss Rachel aql e!” And repeat.
“Aql” is an adjective that roughly translates to “well-behaved.” It’s what adults tell children when they’re being good. Like saying, “good girl,” or something.
Anyway, I gave my kids a talking-to in Kurdish the other day because they were acting WILD. Whenever I talk to them in Kurdish they go silent. Since I speak to them all day in English, with a few Kurdish words thrown in to clarify concepts, they know that when I go all Kurdish then the situation is bad. I only use Kurdish as a last resort, and man does it work well.
I was saying something like, “Amrro bo chy hemw ewa zor khrapin? Mn mamostaka! Katek mn qsayakam, ewa guegirtin bo mn. Hawarkirdin zor khrapa.”
(Why are you all so bad today? I’m the teacher! When I speak, you all listen to me. Yelling is very bad.)
One of my kids, in response to “Hawarkirdin zor khrapa” (yelling is very bad), responded, “Miss Rachel zor khrapa!”
Uh-oh. The class went quiet and they all knew that Darin had messed up. Darin had to stand up and apologize to me in front of the class. Ever since then he’s been gleefully singing, “Miss Rachel aql e!”
Which is all the cuter because this is something you only say to a child. It’s a sort of compliment because they’re treating me like I’m one of them. In the afternoons as we’re coloring, I’ll ask my kids the Kurdish names for things around the classroom. Now they’ve started volunteering Kurdish. When we learn vocab, they repeat the English name after me, and then there’s a rush of hands and handful of kids clamoring to say, “Miss Miss, this…in Kurdish…qadrima! (or karaba, or befer, or qanafa…)”
They’re really proud that they can teach me something. And I’m proud of them for wanting to teach!