Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What a Wednesday!

I seriously love my students. I teach English as a Second Language (ESL). My students are from different countries all over the world and are in different stages of learning English. Some hardly speak English at all and can communicate with small phrases, gestures, pictures, and translators. Some speak more intermediate levels of English and are in the process of learning more academic language, becoming better readers and writers. Others are advanced and will soon exit ESL; they are close to proficient in English. 

Every day my students say the cutest and funniest things because, let's face it, English is a crazy language. We say things that don't literally mean what we are saying. We use words in funny ways, and words can have so many different meanings. One of my students found this out the other week after looking up a word in the dictionary that had 15 different meanings. He hit himself in the forehead and yelled, "Oh my gosh!" It was too cute! To him, English can be very, in Japanese, "mendokusai," or in English very "frustrating" or "bothersome." And I totally get their frustration! Sometimes it takes all my energy to try to explain our crazy, "medokusai" language to them in pictures, gestures, and limited phrases.

I always say, though, that I need to write a book of the cute things that they say in class. I do get a kick out of their cuteness and confusion with the English language. Sometimes they look at me like, "Why the heck do you say that, Ms. Gilbert?"

For example, I usually drink tea at school, and today, I had this mug with me:

One of my girls ran up to me in ESL because she was so excited to tell me about something that she finished (we had been working very hard on it). She was so proud of herself. Once she got to my desk, she stopped, looked at me drinking out of my mug, and a look of shock came over her face. Here is the conversation that followed:

Student: Ms. Gilbert, why are you drinking out that cup?

Me: I'm drinking tea. This is for my tea.

Student: No, but you're not a dog!

Me: Oh, you mean what my cup says?

Student: Uh, yeah? (Look of dumbfoundedness on her face.)

Me: In English, when we say, "I'm a dog person, it means I like dogs the best. Out of all pets.
        I like dogs more than cats, or turtles, or hamsters, or any other pet. Just dogs. You          
        could be a cat person if you liked cats the best

Student: (Eyes wide.) Okay, Ms. Gilbert, but I still don't think you should drink out that cup!

I tried!!!! Sometimes I don't think they believe me and my English explanations!!!

Another funny thing happened when I was helping a student write a summary for a book she read called Stick Dog

A few of my students were all working at computers at the same time, so they could hear me working with this student. Here is the conversation that took place:

Me: Okay, let's start by talking about who the main characters are. Do you remember the
        names of all the dogs in the book?

Student 1: Oh yeah...Stick Dog, Karen, Stripes, Mutt, and Poo-Poo!

Student 2: Hahahahahahaha! Poo-poo!

Studnet 1: (Looks at Student 2.) Why is that so funny?

Student 2: You know Poo-poo? It sounds like poo-poo? (Eyebrows up. Looking at Student 1
                    like, why don't you get it?)

Me: (Hoping Student 1 figures it out, so I don't have to explain it to her.)

Student 1: (Turns to me.) Is poo-poo something bad?

Me: Well, let's just not go around saying poo-poo at school. Unless you're saying Poo-Poo, 
        the name of the dog in your book.

Student 1: Why? Why is it bad?

Student 2: (Staring at me now too.)

Me: It's a word people may say if they have to go to the bathroom.

Student 1: they have to go to the bathroom! (Thinks for a second.) Is that 
                   why people say they have to pee-pee too?

Me: Yeah.

Student 1: That's kind of weird.

Me: Yeah. It is.

Student 1: Oh my gosh...

Me: What's wrong?

Student 1: Eeww. The dog's name is Poo-Poo, like poo-poo!

Student 2: Ms. Gilbert, she got it.

And that is the story of my life....

Love and happiness <3 Holly


  1. Oh, the things kids say...they do tickle me! When I was student teaching in England, I was trying to explain the differences between American and British English terms. One little boy raised his hand and said, "Miss, American English is like English...but different." The way he said it was too adorable, and it's so true!

    Sarah Beth
    Miss White's Classroom

    1. Too funny! I would LOVE to hear more things your kids in England said! I love when they realize the silly things about language that we take for granted and don't see as funny--until they point it out! It keeps me on my toes! It is so very true!

  2. I've nominated you for The Sunshine Award. :) All the info is here

    1. Thank you so much, Katie! I'm putting up a post about it soon! That was so kind and thoughtful of you!


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