Funny Stories from Working with Kids—Part One

Throughout my time in college, I’ve done a lot of work with kids. Since my freshman year, I’ve worked for BUILD, a work-study tutoring program that sends BU students to tutor elementary students in Boston Public Schools.  This summer, I did an internship with Mothers for Justice and Equality and worked in their youth programs.  One of the best parts of working with kids is that you always have an abundance of funny, adorable (and sometimes awkward) stories to tell.  Here are some real quotes from kids that will brighten your day.

"Do you have breasts?"

One time I was helping some first-grade girls with homework when out of nowhere, one of them said, “When I jump my breasts go up and down.”  Keep in mind, this girl was in first grade. When I was that age, I probably didn’t know what breasts were, let alone claim to have them. While I was trying to change the subject, this girl turned to me and asked: “Do you have breasts?” I was so taken aback I don’t even remember what I said.

"Do you have a boyfriend?"

For whatever reason, kids tend to be obsessed with their teachers’ or mentors’ love life.  Every semester, I get several questions about whether or not I have a significant other. One time I’ll never forget, though, was when a boy in about second grade asked me the dreaded question.  I wasn’t seeing anyone at the time, so I said no. After that, he said, “Oh, so you have a girlfriend.” I still love the fact that in his mind, the only conceivable alternative to me not having a boyfriend was having a girlfriend, not being single.  When I told him I didn’t have a girlfriend either, he looked completely baffled. 

“But you’re in college!” he insisted.  

“That’s not what college is for,” I told him.  “People go to college to learn.”

“Yeah, and to get boyfriends and girlfriends,” he said, as if it was completely obvious.

Fine, kid. Just play on all my insecurities, why don’t you?

"When are you getting married?"

For some kids, adulthood means more than being in a relationship.  You have to be married. Sometimes, after asking me how old I am, the kids I work with ask me if I’m married or have kids.  One time, upon learning I wasn’t married, the kids asked me when I was getting married.

“I don’t know yet,” I told them.  “First I have to find someone who wants to marry me.”

“Do you want to marry a boy or a girl?” they asked.

“I think I’ll marry a boy,” I said.

“But what happens if a girl wants to marry you?” they pressed further.

I didn’t have a good answer, because I never thought that one through. I think they overestimated the number of people that would want to marry me.

"Harry Potter isn’t getting his birthday present."

At one point this summer, I had a classroom full of rowdy, misbehaving kids. I was trying to do everything I could to get them to calm down—breathing exercises, heads on desk, even threatening to cut into their outside playtime. Nothing seemed to work though. Randomly, one kid yelled out, “It’s Harry Potter’s birthday!”

“That’s right!”  I jumped on the idea.  “And do you know what Harry Potter really wants for his birthday this year?  He wants you all to be quiet and listen.”

One girl shook her head at me with grave seriousness. “Then he isn’t getting his birthday present.”

Even though working with kids takes a ton of patience, there’s so much to learn from the experience.  For example, these kids are better allies of the LGBTQ community than most of the adults I know. They’re always surprising me with their wit and their knowledge.

 

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