I wrapped up our unit on the 1960s by teaching the kids about the moon landing. Since NASA is not that far away, and they just made a big deal out of the 40th anniversary, I thought it would be a relatively simple day. I probably thought that because I temporarily forgot that I teach teenagers at a public school.
Every day Roger drags himself into first period 10 minutes late, stands at the door and asks "Miss, what we be doin' today?" I used to think that this habit would drive his English teacher crazy. I met her last week, and she seemed quite sane, but she did mention his poor punctuality. If my response to his query sounds interesting enough he comes into class and participates. If my response doesn't meet his standard he pouts a little. He makes a face, stomps his foot, and asks "why?" (Which is apparently appropriately pronounced in 2 very distinct syllables.) When he does this I tell him it's because I'm trying to make him miserable, and I was up all night trying to think of ways to ruin his life. Then he shrugs, comes into class, and sleeps.
When I told him that we were going to learn about the moon landing I was entirely unprepared for his response. He proudly proclaimed "I already know all about that. It's that Buzz guy. Buzz what'shisname." I was quite proud of his knowledge, and particularly impressed that he didn't throw out the name Neil Armstrong. He was an informed student. He knew that Armstrong was not the only astronaut involved in the moon landing. Anticipating that this meant that Roger was deciding to participate in class I responded, "That's right. It was Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Michael Collins was there as well, but he didn't actually walk on the moon."
Roger looked at me for a minute. I really think he spent an entire sixty seconds trying to figure out what I just said. I could see the wheels turning in his head and I thought I might have thrown him off a little by mentioning Michael Collins. Then he said, "Miss, what are you talking about? I was talking about that movie. You know...the one with the toys. It's Buzz...Buzz...Buzz Lightyear! Yeah. That's his name."