Mondays don’t make me cry

I’m pretty sure that I have a healthy relationship with Mondays nowadays. They don’t make me cry. I don’t dread their coming on Sunday evenings. Actually, I look forward to getting up early ready for work. Of course, I can’t say the same about my Monday students who usually didn’t use their L2 skills during the weekend and start class only thinking of a good hangover cure magic pill.

Student MV is a good example of what I have just said: He is at a beginner level  lacking basic grammar and vocabulary skills. He’s keen on learning. Positive point. Doesn’t do anything outside the 60-minute class in order to learn. NEGATIVE POINT.

Learning will take place if a student is willing to commit his time, money and effort. The proportion could be 15%-5%-80%. The first 2 can vary but if there’s not a strong commitment to work, and work hard, learning will grow slowly, weak and sooner or later will die. Student MV is only with his 5% of the learning process ok, i.e. he punctually pays for his classes, but his knowledge tree will have a stunted growth and most decidedly will not have any leaves, and heaven forbid, any fruit.

He knows some English which, by the way, Starbucks is not helping. He’s seen several times “tall” ref. to a small cup at Starbucks. That’s the mental association he has made: Tall = Small. So if I ask “Is a basketball player usually tall?” He vehemently answers: “No he is not”. Another interesting confusion we came across today was describing some occupations. MV had to see a picture and answer: What does he/she do? When he saw the picture of a singer the only answer that came to his mind: SHOWER. LOL.

Most definitely Mondays don’t make me cry, only if I’m crying and laughing.

Mo Confused words

Time and Language meet on the Sabbath

I was born and raised in Brazil, a predominantly Catholic country, but because my family was Seventh-Day Adventist, my upbringing was Protestant with very clear Anglo-Saxon values. My church’s denomination is fruit of the American religious revival movement, and growing up we would sing the Portuguese versions of well-know 19th Century American hymns: What a Friend we Have in Jesus; I have a Friend so Precious; There shall be showers of blessing; It is well with my soul; Blessed Assurance, and many more. In Bible class, which we called Sabbath School, as little children we would learn about American missionaries risking their lives to bring light to the world, hear about values such as hard work, cleanliness, honesty, self-reliance, distrust of Big Government, etc, reflecting America’s patriotic, civic and religious values that got mixed and blended in the mists of the revolution and development of that nation. We’ve been leading a Sabbath School class in Brazil in English every week for the past 19 years. Although I believe that the seventh day is a day of rest and to cease from work, thus acknowledging God’s provisions for our life, English doesn’t take the day off. Today in Sabbath School we sang “In Christ alone; He is exalted; We are an offering – well-known contemporary songs in today’s English language hymnbooks. We sing, pray study the bible in this language, making students and teachers aware that language is not just a subject to be taught in school but something alive and transformative.IMG_3121 IMG_3130 IMG_3127ative. Mo

Fridays are always a Question Mark

Being self-employed I always try not to work Friday afternoons, my last class of the day is scheduled to end at 2pm. I have the rest of the afternoon free and many times I just go home and do whatever I feel like doing or not doing. It’s so liberating this feeling of not having to worry. Of course, my 12.30 pm student quite often cancels her class in the last minute. Can’t blame her. Poor thing. Way too busy juggling 231 hats. So many times while driving to class or waiting for her in reception, I am informed to do an about-face and get out of the way.

Usually my 8.30am Student is late, sometimes VERY late, so I always take books, ipad, newspaper, podcasts, and whatever I can think of to class to keep myself busy. Let’s call her Student A: she is a very pleasant person, however, talks WAY too much about anything, everything, except what she should be talking about in class. It’s complicated to have an introduction, development and conclusion of class when your student is shooting rubber question marks at 360 degrees. Because her tongue is advanced but her vocabulary is intermediate, every sentence in her speech is full of question marks in her intonation checking for confirmation of the word she’s using. For example, when describing a situation she begins saying: “she went under? Oh yes, downstairs. To the garage? oh yes, to the parking lot. She saw a police? Oh yes, a policeman, and she questioned? Oh yes, she asked her? Policeman? him?… and there she goes for a whole hour. ” question

Laughter is, most of the times, the best medicine

Coincidentally today two of my classes worked with humor. One lesson was part of the last chapter of the textbook dealing with humor as a science and why we laugh. The other class it was the student with a real upbeat spirit making the class light and the activities move smoothly. Learning to laugh at themselves is a task that both teacher and students must learn.
This afternoon the student walks into the room and says “I took some alcohol before the class”. I thought ok, now I have an alcoholic student. She meant to say she was regularly using the hand sanitizer gel. Go figure. 😜
Another funny situation when she said vacuum and she meant vaccine. She was confusing the English word with the Spanish “vacuna”. She also said CIDA instead of AIDS. The funny confusions of learning a 3rd language.
Sometimes we come across a student who no matter how hard she tries she seems not to make any progress. She does almost all her assigned homework, has reached an upper intermediate level after years and years of classes but still fumbles the ball when having to produce the simplest sentences. As her teacher I can choose between snapping at her saying: how can you be so thick/ dimwit or any other less than flattering adjective. Or I can laugh it off and start again. I choose the latter. Mo