I am currently in the throes of English Summer Camp. You would be forgiven for thinking that this sounds fun. After all, aren’t summer camps fun? This one is not. English Summer Boot Camp would be a more appropriate name. We have textbooks, workbooks, Powerpoints and handouts. The wee ones even had to write a test yesterday. Madness.
Today I was attempting to explain the difference between ‘desert’ and ‘dessert’. I drew a picture of a piece of cake, and an ice cream cone. The students nodded and scribbled in their notebooks.
Desert was going to strain my limited drawing abilities. I drew a squiggly line for the ground, a happy-faced snake, and a sun. The students looked blank. I thought I’d add a cactus or two. I drew the three-pronged cactus familiar to anyone who has ever been to a Mexican restaurant. Instant pandemonium.
I was perplexed. I looked at my drawings – admittedly not Van Gogh but recognizable. I looked at my students – doubled over, crying with laughter. I wondered if I should be insulted.
“What is so funny?” I demanded.
“Teacher!! Oh no!” They were so hysterical, they could barely talk.
I gave them some time to recover before asking again.
“Teacher, plant?” one little boy asked, giggling and pointing at my cactus. “No F**k you finger?”
“F**k you finger, teacher! Why f**k you fingers in desert?”
Apparently they thought I had drawn a bunch of middle fingers rather than cacti. My peaceful desert scene was giving them the finger.
I thought about explaining that in English it was called the middle finger, not the F**k you finger. I considered explaining that dropping the F-bomb in English class was not really appropriate. I pondered the ramifications of being caught teaching anything containing the F-word.
I decided to move on to the next topic instead…
… “She doesn’t have a brain!” I kid you not. That is the name of the unit in my textbook. I do wonder who writes the textbooks. Here is some of the dialog from the textbook:
“This is Fray and she can’t play, she doesn’t have a single bone! This is Trix and she can’t think because she doesn’t have a brain!”
When are the students EVER going to need to say those sentences?
“He can’t move his head because he doesn’t have a neck,” was perhaps the most useful sentence in the entire chapter. Maybe they’ll make friends with an English-speaking wrestler or weight-lifter.