The Witless Clunkery of a Third-Rate Mind

Saturday, May 14, 2005

First Week Back

So I survived my first week back, but I must admit that sitting around watching TV all day has left me woefully unprepared for the working world. Oh well. Despite generally being exhausted, I had a good week. My students are low-level (again) but nice. I still have a few who are very frustrating to work with:

Me: Hi, Yoshi. Do you like dogs?
Yoshi: No.
Me: Okay, why don't you like dogs? (I have already explained that they should provide reasons for their answers.)
Yoshi: Because, uh... just moment. (Finger at temple, eyes directed upwards, processing, processing...)
Me: Because...?
Yoshi: Just moment...
(2 or 3 minutes elapse before, suddenly...)
Yoshi: My young time was bitted by a dog.
Me: Oh, okay. "When I was young, I was bitten by a dog."
Yoshi: Yes.
Me: Try it. "When I was young..."
Yoshi: Yes.
Me: Try it. Repeat after me. "When I was young..."
Yoshi: (silence)

And so it goes. Have I written this exact thing before? It feels like it. Anyway, they're not all like that, and most of them are fun to work with. It's just that some Japanese students really want to produce these perfect, complete sentences so they just sit there thinking and thinking, arranging words in different orders until it sounds right, and then they come out with something totally wrong anyway. I would be happier if they would just say, "Me. Young. Dog. Bite me." and then we could take it from there without wasting the intervening 2 or 3 minutes. Sigh.

But I'm not complaining! It's fun, really.


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