Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wicked Things My Students Have Said

Disclaimer: My students will, of course, remain nameless. I also won't mention the identity of my employer, for reasons of employment maintenance, common sense, and plain old decency. My lawyers have also instructed me to inform you that there is a 5% chance that these stories may be entirely fictional, so if you ever meet one of my students you won't be tempted to ask them if they said these things... If you happen to be one of my students, then you can also rest assured that these people probably don't exist. But.. then, if you are one of my students, then you are probably having a really SHITTY day, now that you found out what a disaster your formerly respected Sensei turned out to be - but hey, this blog is a hell of a lesson in colloqual/online/terrible grammar, right?)

ok. yeah. that disclaimer might have been the...uh... funniest thing... I've... written.

(cough.) Try the ... (cough)... veal...


um... I am therefore happy to present you, dear reader, with the very best in unintentional hilarity.

Background is really only needed on one student ... We'll call him "Deadpan" or "DP" for short, because he rarely breaks his monotone or smiles... Also, if I had to guess, I would say that he has about as much experience with women as I have with the machinations of the court of the Ottoman Empire circa 1532. This, of course, makes any material on "romance" difficult and painful at best.

Btw... the textbook unit for the past month has been entitled "More Than Friends: Talking About Relationships!"

Anyway... so here are some gems from DP and some of my other language charges...

Most Common Unintentional Error:
Sensei, I was very boring on the weekend.
(in Japanese, the aren't two adjectives for describing things ("boring") and feelings ("bored"), so students tend to mix them up alot.)

Third most painful silence:
Me (to student 1): Why do you like jokes?
Student 1 (smiling): Because I like to laugh. Jokes make me happy. Why do you like Jokes, DP?
DP (seriously): I like Jokes because there are very many sad things in my life.

Biggest Mix up of the "Encouraging" / "Discouraging" lesson material:
Sensei: Ok, class, I'm going to jump out the window!!!
JGangster#1: um... That's a ....great idea??

Best Classmate/Text/Cultural Ethos Combination:
3 businessmen + 1 Antiglobalization Activist + a unit on "Genetically Engineered Foods" + the powerful Japanese belief in consensus-seeking.

Second most painful silence/"I'll prescribe Sex and the City AFTER you get through The Wonder Years" award:
Sensei: Ok, what are some things you can do to "keep the spark going" in a relationship?
DP: You should remember her birthday.
Sensei: Anything else?
DP: ....
Sensei: Hmmm... what things could you do to show someone you like them.
DP: .... I don't know. Please teach me.

Best opening to an anecdote about pets:
Happy Happy Student (female): Ok... I have a story. When I was young, I was verrry fat...

Most Painful Silence/Scariest Corporate Mind Control:
Sensei: Ok, guys... take a moment and think about your work day, and think about what makes you happy.
Student 1: Well, I like to do a good job, and I enjoy lunch, and I really enjoy coffee.... salary of course. (laughs)
DP: My boss tells me that work is like wash the face. You don't think about wash the face. You just do it, and then you are happy. You are happy when you don't think about it.
Student 1: ...
Studnet 1:...
Sensei: ... So... um... if you don't ask any questions... you don't get any bad answers....hmm... Student 1, what do you think about that...?
Student 1:... (thinks...)... um... (more thinking).... (nods)... Okay, sounds good.

Best inapropriate two-part verb question:

Housewife#1: Sensei, you go in, and you go out... but do you go down?

/ The voices in my head had a field day with that last one, but I managed to squeak out "doors" and "stairs" as examples of things you could go in, out and down....

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