Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tough Morning

Warning: I've got biting humor at the moment, if you don't like that, you'll want to skip this post.
New class today at 8:30 am. In the first class I find out what levels I'm dealing with and prepare to adjust accordingly. I have a memorized vocabulary of basic English words that almost all students know when they arrive, no matter what their level.

The first class I use common vocabulary in short sentences. I make sure that even without verbal cues, the conversation is manageable, meaning my questions relate to each other, follow a logical sequence, no non-sequitir curve balls.


No. This group does not know English. They also managed to tap into my pet peeve of not following logic, which is a separate issue than a language barrier. I'm not able to get into details without being lengthy, I wish I could give concrete examples.

Student:"The Philippines?"
In my mind: No, we've completely changed the subject in the last five words and now all of a sudden without explaining myself, I'm talking about London.

Student:"North Korea?"
Me-in my mind: Why would I think that you served your military duty IN NORTH KOREA? Why would I think that?

The consolation of incidents like these is that there's always at least one other student with a facial expression that betrays shock, so at least it's not just me. Communication frustrations get us where it hurts, there are very few things in life more emotional. Long story short, we all lived through it.

I'm going to have to choose our lowest level conversation book for this group. And I've got a student who chose the name Arnold for himself because of you-know-who. He reminded me that he's the governor of you-know-where. Yeah, I know where. I used to live there. That's my state.

You know, every once in a while I get a student that's like this: If people in his country made it a habit to strangle newborn infants and then use the carcass as a football until the intestines fall out, and then cook them into a tasty dish, he would say: "Well that's a tradition in my country.", proudly. And this same type of student is the one who brought up the subject in the first place, trying to corner me into an opinion he may not like. Newsflash for ya honey,I don't care what traditions are in my country, so guess what?- I don't care what they are in yours either. I didn't bring it up, and I'm not trying to change you. If you don't want my opinion, don't ask for it. There are some Korean things for which I'll be adopting a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

Yeah, well you know what? This is a tradition in my country:

You know who this is, right? He's the president of you-know-where. I know that every Korean I've met hates him, he likes to invade other countries and attempt take-overs for control of natural resources no matter what anyone thinks, and include the soldiers of innocent countries like South Korea, but you know what? That's a tradition in my country. And there's your salute in the above photo.

Ok, Ok, done. Even students like that end up being likable for 100 other reasons, I don't sweat it. Just today I thought I'd blog it because it's bothering me at the moment.

I've got a student leaving this weekend who I'm really really going to miss. Erk.

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