December 12th, 2006

red

destroying young minds one word at a time...

today i taught my students to hate and made martin luther king jr. into an alcoholic. here's how it went:

after christmas lessons yesterday, today we did review games with the first and third year jr. high kids. we played the ever popular bingo, charades, shiritori and telephone with different grammar and vocab points from the respective text books. after doing the first year class, i had lunch with them, where as always the teachers try to get the kids to practice english and they don't really want to. but i was sitting in the group with the class clown, who happens to be one of the best english speakers in the class. as he was trying to eat his fish with two milk straws because he didn't have chopsticks (he could have borrowed some, but like i said, class clown), he told me he "very don't like milk". i knew what he really meant, and confirmed in japanese, asking "miruku ga daikirai desu ka?" and he said yes. so i told him that while, "kirai" translates as "don't like", "daikirai" would be "hate". "i hate milk," he said. all the other kids must have been listening too, because as i'm eating and later leaving the class room, i hear a group of girls practicing with each other, saying "hate, hate, hate..." while there was a moment of happiness that they were actually listening to me for once, there was that Oppenheimer-esque moment of "oh no, what have i done!! i've taught the japanese children to hate!! i've corrupted their souls!!" that followed right after. maybe they won't remember how to hate tomorrow though...

after lunch it was the third year class, and one of the sections in their text book is on martin luther king jr. and the civil rights movement. it has pictures and short bits of speeches and the like. for telephone, i chose sentences out of the text book and then the last kid on each team had to write the sentence on the board. for an easy start, they got "I have a dream" as a sentence to telephone. three of the five teams got it no problem. the other two teams both got it slightly off, and while the grammar of "I have a drink" is correct, i cracked up laughing when i read it because all i could picture was MLK standing in front of thousands of people with a scotch in his hand saying it. oh my goodness, i laughed again just typing that. close but not quite teams 2 and 3, but thanks for the laugh. i'm sure they thought i was nuts, i was really laughing pretty hard. even harder than when they turned "have you ever seen this?" into "have you ever CD's?" or "can i help you?" into "can i help me?"

tomorrow is quiz day for all the kids, so i've got no classes to teach. i'm actually a little disappointed. the last couple days were fun, and i'm not gonna see these kids again until late february. maybe i can at least teach them how to love at lunch tomorrow instead of hate. we'll see.