A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What is the what?

So today we did an exercise in the advanced class that I think perfectly illustrates each of the students' personalities. I'll share them here to give you a better idea of the kind of kids who occasionally drive me crazy, but are almost always the highlight of my day.

First is Paul, who really needs no introduction. He is the resident dung fetishist, and single most prolific source of material for this blog. He is certifiably deranged. He is also my boss' son. He also claims his "real" name is: Paulie Polar Bear Bedison Saidison Medicine Petison Pantyson Jetison David Beckham David Birdsall Worthington D.C. Whitehouse Taster's Choice Black Coffee Beautiful Joe Powerman Columbus Edison Dungworld Earth Butt Runny Nose Appley Junior Senior.

is the only girl in the class. Her family is loaded so she always talks about her trips to Japan and Europe and how she saw Beethoven's house. She is slightly precocious and seems used to getting away with murder. Competence-wise, she is the second best student in the class. Her nickname is "Jupiter" or "Ninja Judy" as I call her occasionally when she pulls her turtleneck over her face.

is the class clown, and as I've stated before is a (mostly) lovable doofus. He has a near elastic face and thrives on the laughter of the rest of the class when he asks me intentionally ridiculous questions like: "Teacher! What is the what?" and "Am I sorry?" He is obsessed with Star Craft and frequently falls out of his chair for kicks. I've given him the nickname "Break-time" since he asks if it is yet, about a million times every class.

is adorable. He's forever doing things like sticking pencils between his fingers and saying he's an X-man, and asking me (if we're studying animals) if a moose is stronger than a coyote. He has big, blatant front teeth and the most endearing expressions of both delight and surprise. He is easily confused, but very committed. He is also the only student who has not yet cried in class. This speaks volumes of his patience for others. His nickname is "Baby Kangeroo."

, whose English name is Tyrod but I prefer to call him Minwoo, thinks I'm the coolest. This is a great boon to our relationship. He's always eager to show me things, ask me questions or do whatever I say. He's also convinced he's incredibly handsome and suffers mild delusions of grandeur. His self-described nickname is "Handsome Boy."

is perhaps the most eager student in the class. He is also the shortest. He has a charming laugh but also cries easily if the rest of the class gangs up on him which happens occasionally. He is quick to answer questions and always tries to demonstrate additional knowledge about the subject at hand. His nickname is "David Beckham" or more recently, "You."

Now let's see if you can match the story to the kid:

1. "I went a Starcraft World. There very clean. I am heros [sic] I am very strong. 99999 quadrillion vs. me. Me win. They very weak. They have many muscle. I have many many many much muscle. There live in the Acan [sic]. Acan and me fight. Me lose win lose win. I don't know. I'm win!"

2. "I went to the sea. I ride the big ship. The wind blow slowly. And I go to hill too. I saw eagle and squirrel. It is vary [sic] cute. I give the carrot to squirrel. It is very happy day from me. I want to go one more time."

3. "I am Earth king. I have very large castle. I have 99999999 quadrillion times 999999999 quadrillion people. I am very happy. I went all planets with Sam and Joseph and Dave and my any friend. It's very funny, but Joseph is die. Very sad. But I can live again because I got [sic] (I think he meant God) but Joseph is little got [sic] and sam is middle got [sic]."

4. "I went to Pool. That was frist [sic] visit the pool. It was fun. I went whit [sic] teacher and my fater [sic]. I played with my teacher. I almost kill my teacher but I dead. I was crazy. After played the game I went to pee house and pee. I was fun day."

5. "It's your turu [sic] (turn)! I learned English in ******* (name of school omitted) I read English book but next don't read the book so I say it's your turn so he read but reading is not fune [sic] (funny) so teacher say one more tiem [sic] reading a book."

6. "Yesterday I play with my younger brother game name is chicken fight. It was very fun. But mother is very angry. And we are very hurt. We are going room and play and I'm win. I'm so happy!"

Feel free to post guesses in the comments section, and the answers will be revealed by and by.


mandy :) said...

this is a guess,
but is
1 joseph
2 Judy,
and is the self-proclaimed 'earth king' (3), Paul?

claire said...

ok mum and I say...

1. Joseph
2. Judy
3. Minwoo
4. Paul
5. Dave
6. Joey

Ta da! do we win?
Love Peach and Mum and the rest of the fam! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Hi Sam
This is fun, so I'll try. I was just working on it as Mandy posted her answers and I agree with Joseph and Judy as 1 and 2......
3 Minwoo
4 Paul
5 Dave
6 Joey
what do others think?

Anonymous said...

Hey, hi Claire hi Pam
scarey or what!

Sam said...

You guys nailed it!

Nicely done.

Joseph's story made me laugh so hard in class. I'm certain the kids consider it a point of triumph to see who can make me laugh so hard that I have to take my glasses off and wipe my eyes.

Pam said...

You've certainly got a keen audience !!!!

jake said...

Hi Sam.

I'm not gonna play your game because I can't bear to lose a contest, but "What is the What" is also the title of a new, as-yet-unread-by-me book by David Eggers that looks mighty cool.

Sam said...


I've read good reviews of the Eggers book. Somehow I doubt Joesph was channeling McSweeny's...

Jake said...

Upcoming Work of Great Korean Literature:

"A Duong-Cradling Work of Buttock-Punding Genius"