Friday, September 28, 2007


I don't know that I've told many people that I'm teaching an ESL class at the local community college. It's just 8 hours a week, so while James happily terrorizes our 2 year old twin friends and their mom, I'm teaching again. Its been really interesting- and quite good for me to have to put on clothes at least twice weekly.

The overwhelming majority of my students are from Mexico-and then I have one from Egypt, one from Yemen, and one from China (about 30 total). I'm soooo glad for the 3 non-spanish speakers because I don't want the others trying to speak Spanish/trying to make me speak spanish. The age range of the students is from 17-69-but they all get along splendidly. They are really funny-and even though I HATE getting up and out of the house before 8am, I find myself cracking up at their comments (and questions) every time we meet.

A little while ago, the man from Egypt said to me: Why are you not black? I thought that maybe I had misunderstood him (which happens FREQUENTLY in an ESL classroom). I asked him to repeat his question and then explain it. He said, "You are from Texas, Texas is in the south, people in the south are black, why are you not black? (Seriously, it was just like the transitive property gone awry!) I laughed and had a little culture, geography, and social lesson right then and there.

Last week I was teaching "future tense" (I am going to eat, you are going to leave, they are going to play...) And we went on a 'class trip' to Miami. Each person had to talk about what they were "going to bring" "going to see" "going to buy" etc. One lady stood up and said, "I'm going to bring sex". I was startled and said, quite loudly, "What?" She repeated, "I'm going to bring sex". I was blushing, she was flustered and half the class was roaring. Suddenly she got this "OH MY GOSH" look on her face and started to point to her feet. "Sex, Mrs. Swan, Sex!" I finally understood and said above the laughter "SOCKS!!!! You're going to bring SOCKS!!!" I don't think we could go on for about 5 minutes. Later another guy stood up and said "I'm going to buy a new butt." Huh? He repeated and we went through this for a while (with the whole 'sex' misunderstanding fresh on our minds...) and then he drew a BOAT on the whiteboard. Oh, what a day.

Today we were doing role plays of going to the Dr's office. I encouraged them to make their mini-dramas as interesting as possible so that we wouldn't all be bored to tears. The 69 year old lady was playing a patient and when the "nurse" asked her to step onto the scale, she took a deep breath and then crossed herself (as if praying). Oh my gosh, it was the funniest thing I have seen forever!!!!! Then another group got up and when the 'patient' was diagnosed with pregnancy she said "This cannot be, I am a virgin, Doctor, its a miracle..." Seriously, I don't know where they come up with this stuff, but they are funny!!!

All in all, its a great experience and its stretching my brain to teach English instead of Spanish.


Karla: said...

I love it! You really are a great teacher. I wish I was still in your class : )

Kimball & Marianne Larsen said...

We were just busting up about your classroom experiences. The woman crossing herself reminds me of the "by-this-shalmeno" antic we came up with for the song 'Love One Another'. I had similar experiences when I taught English classes in Spain. We were talking about things we should/ought to do and I gave the scenario of things we should do before going to bed. The one student hesitated before she said she should put on (except she pronounced it 'puton') her pajamas. Everyone was cracking up!