Today I was walking around the hallways going to help some students with cleaning time at the school when one of the teachers saw me and said "Wait just a minute Booger Sensei!" And then one of the special education girls came right behind the teacher and he asked me to sneeze.
I looked at him like he had been smoking too much crack or something. He said again for me to sneeze. So I decided to play along with this and I mustered up a fake sneeze. Well not two seconds after my overly ambitious sneeze than this student said "Bless you." Well, I was totally awestruck. This student is a high level mentally disabled student. She can talk a little and write a little, but her memory is not so good. And she has some speech troubles as well. In the classroom she just writes words over and over and over and gets very little practical English time. But after I sneezed she said "Bless you" in very clear and precise English.
The teacher was glowing. He told me he had practiced with her for 1 hour that simple phrase and for her to produce it meant he must be doing something right. I made a couple of more fake sneezes and that student produced the obligatory "Bless you" each time. It was very funny and cute. I might try to sneeze again in front of her tomorrow to see if she has retained what she learned today.