Monday, April 9, 2012


They call him 'Macho' - his mother, his friends, sometimes on accident, even me. It's not his name, of course, and I laughed when his mother called him it in parent teacher conferences.

"He's coming late to school every day, so he is missing a lot of work, and it's making it hard for him to pass tests."

"Ay, I know! Macho - he thinks he's a grown man! He thinks every day is a fashion show! I tell him, Macho, it's not a fashion show, just get to school, but he spends all his time in front of the mirror, changing his outfits."

To be fair, he's a good looking kid, and he does have a reputation to maintain. And calling him 'Macho' probably contributes to his sense of maturity.

My co-teacher explained it to me - 'Macho' is what they call the man of the house. He's the oldest son being raised by his mother, so he's the 'Macho'.

He's a story teller; he always answers questions with a long narrative, always bracing me for the importance of his stories.

"Yo - miss!" he always begins, "You wouldn't believe it..." of course, his timing is often off, interrupting a lesson to tell me about his walk to school, or his weekend. But you just can't help liking the kid - he has positive energy, he's respectful, and he's got a great sense of humor.

He gets respect from the guys, who don't cross him, and girls stand outside our classroom giggling and cooing at him.

"Could you please not invite your friends to class," we scold him.

"Aight, aight, I got you. I don't know why they come here anyway - I don't have time for those little girls." he reassures us, ever the respectful gentleman in class.

The other girls in class refer to those 'little girls' who fawn over boys as 'birds'.  Another boy in the class point out that everyone in the school has caught 'Macho Fever'.

"There's a bird at the door," they tease him.

"No - I don't want no pigeon" he sings the old song, making everyone laugh, and the girls at the door leave, temporarily defeated.

He gets his points across, but he's not a bully, he doesn't hurt feelings, and he knows when he reaches the line. He's not a grown man yet, but you can see the type of person he will grow up to be. And for now, he's just 'Macho'.

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