He was helping me plan an activity about characterization in which I would have my students make inferences about me based on things I've said, things I've done, or choices I've made. I said, "Do you think they could guess what table I sat at in high school?"
He said, "I think they could figure out that you sat at the nerd table."
I said, "I wasn't a nerd in high school."
Of course, if you asked most of the people I went to high school with, they probably would say I was a nerd. It's just that I personally never self-identified as a nerd and certainly wouldn't have listed "smart" as my defining characteristic.
Michael asked me, "So if you aren't a nerd, what are you?"
"A hippie," I replied as if it were obvious.
Michael disagreed, seeing as I don't smoke pot or listen to jam bands.
"Okay, maybe we have different definitions of the word hippie. Maybe a better word to describe me would be crunchy. Granola."
"I could see that," Michael conceded.
Environmentalist. Yogi. Gardener. Bike-rider. Folk-music lover. That is how I self-identify.
Thinking of this conversation, I asked the boys tonight, "What do you think is your main talent? How would you describe yourself? Nerd? Athlete? Artist? Musician? Dancer? What?"
Eli said athlete, which I was not expecting, but his answer might have been skewed by the fact that we were coming home from soccer.
Cole said geek, which he insists is different from and better than a nerd.
I think it's interesting to think about how others see us versus how we see ourselves. How do you self-identify?