Aug 23, 2008

I'm Exceedingly Mature. Really.

I teach an advanced kids class, and it's one of the highlights of my week. The kids are all very high level, having lived abroad for a bit, and they're bright little bundles of joy. I'm not being ironic. They really do kick ass.

Yesterday, I was doing a class with them about describing past events, and everyone had to tell a funny story about something that happened to them in the past. The first kid mentioned that when he was three, he burned himself when attempting to grab a candle flame because he thought the fire was neat looking. We had a good laugh at that.

The next kid's story was a little different. "When I was three years old," she said grinning, "I touched poo."

"What?" I thought I misheard her.

"Poo. I put my finger in poo. When I was three."

"What is poo?" asked both of her classmates, almost at the same time.

"Poo is unchi." Immediately the two other classmates lost control of themselves laughing, doubling over with convulsions of hilarity. Even I started laughing. They were losing it, so I was losing it. The two students eagerly wrote down their new vocabulary word, with accompanying sketches of it. Poo is unchi! Really, how is that not funny?

The student who initially uttered the scatological syllable spread her arms of her head, and pixielike proclaimed "POO!" in a voice loud enough to carry outside the classroom. The absurdity of excrement dominated the air and it took a few moments for the students (and myself) to calm down.

I then had a choice- should I curtail this conversation, put an end to all this poo-talk? Or should I use this, milk it for all it's worth, really get the kids going? EFL experts recommend sticking to topics that students find interesting, and there is a part of me that likes being a showman, so when it was my turn to tell a story about my past I said:

"When I was a child, I liked to eat..." I paused for dramatic effect, "ice cream. Delicious, chocolate ice cream. Creamy, brown, delicious ice cream..."

"Chocolate ice cream looks like poo!" shouted a student. Hilarity ensued.

The rest of the class went great, and afterwards I was wondering what the lesson said about me as a teacher. Was I a great teacher for creating rapport and getting students interested in the lesson? Or, should I have nipped the poo thing in the bud, and not allowed shit talk to pervade my classroom. I'm sort of worried about whether or not the kids will expect shit-based humor next week as well. Gotta keep expectations in check.

Hehe... Poo!


Kristin Walker said...

Dude, Joe. That's pretty awesome really! I think it makes you a good teacher for making the kids laugh... they'll probably all remember that new vocabulary for a while. You rock!

Sydney said...

And these are smart kids; they know not to expect hilarious pseudo-swears each week. But I remember learning how to actually say "pee" in French, although I think it's just for little kids, and thinking that was just the most hilarious thing ever. "Faire pipi." They do that to kids in French, with the repeated single syllable. "Faire dodo" is pretty much "go sleepytime." "Bibi" is "bib." "Avoir bobo" is "have a booboo." "Miam miam" is "to eat," but like "yum yums." Or "nom nom" if you're a nerd. "Tata" is "Aunt" and "Tonton" is uncle. (Yeah, now you're rethinking that whole scene on Hoth in Star Wars, aren't you?) And I just learned from the internet that "le lolo" is "milk" and "les lolos" can be a familiar term for breasts.

Joseph said...

Teehee. Doodoo.

Kori the tomorrow lady said...

somehow when you phrased it as "poo is unchi" I can only draw the comparison to "soilent green is people"

Lost Renee said...

Actually, that's really a very effective way.^…^ I won't forget the new word forever!!