This is short one, but if you're not used to being around sixth graders, well, let this story shed some light on the situation. Or at least...their situation.
One day, as my students were working on practice interviews with each other -- yes, I make them practice talking, because this most recent generation doesn't know how to do it anymore. They just know how to swipe their thumbs across a QWERTY keyboard.
They were supposed to find something specific to talk to their partner about: sports, dogs, cats, carnivals, clowns, you name it. Most of them decided to interview each other about favorite vacation spots (it's Florida, people, because the entire city goes there during spring break -- woot, hurray!).
Some of them began to get confused.
"What am I supposed to ask about?"
Um. Questions. About anything.
"Well, what's there favorite part of the vacation? Do they go every year? Do they go with people? Do they take their dogs with them?" I said.
"What? Take their dogs with them?" one of them asked.
"Why not? Haven't any of you taken a pet with you on vacation?"
Her face twisted in disgust. This was obviously foreign to her. A pet on vacation? It was as bizarre as, say, hanging laundry outside on the line to dry (oh, another story for another day, people, just you wait). Pets were supposed to be boarded at luxury dog spas and such.
"Why would you take a dog with you on vacation?"
"Why not?" I said. "Your parents take you on vacation."
"Do you take them on the plane with you?"
Oh, sweetie, I wanted to say, you think we travel by plane everywhere? That's so cute.
"Not everyone travels by plane. We drive."
This sounded horrible to her. Like, I mean, we actually spend more than, like, ten minutes in a car at a time. Like, really, who does this?
This conversation had entered the dreaded circle phase. It was not going to end, nor was the student going to understand the simple logistics that people can actually take a dog, and for that matter two of them, on vacation with them.