When comfort with language is more important than strict repetition, sometimes a little classclownism helps the learning process along.
That's bullshit of course, but it certainly makes a numb, classroom silence into something better resembling enjoyment.
I've written in brief about moon-faced, Star Craft obsessed, lovable doofus par excellence, Joseph. Sometimes his antics are all that disassociates teaching from the tedium of the grave. I exaggerate of course, because it's fun.
Joseph is the kind of palooka who will forget to bring his book to class, then when I make him a photocopy of the single page we'll be studying, put it on the table in front of him and open my mouth to start speaking, he'll raise his hand, and with a goofy grin say:
"Teacher? What page-y?"
Starting to get a picture?
He does it for laughs, and plays up the bone-headedness that all class clowns make the foundation of their routines.
Tonight was one of those last-class-on-a-Friday-so-let's-power-through-this-and-go-home kind of mentalities all across the board. If we all had laser eyes, the classroom clock would be but a smoking memory for all the longing stares.
However many things would be different if we all had laser eyes, so let's move on.
We finally reached the end of our canned textbook conversation where slick 80's guy Paul gives his permed teacher Mrs. Martinez a box of candy ("Oh! Candy! I love candy! Thank you very, very, much Paul!" blah blah blah...) and we packed up to go home. Joseph had left his photocopied sheet in two deliberate halves on the table.
"Teacher! I rip the paper!" he announced, perhaps expecting a medal.
His be-backpacked back (damn fine writing...) was facing me as I crumpled up the torn page into a ball.
"I have a present for you Mrs. Martinez," I said to him as I unzipped his backpack and stuffed the ragged paper inside.
"Happy Garbage Day."
He wheeled around and let out a kind of moan-laugh combination.
"Oh, candy! I love candy! Thank you very, very much Teacher!" he said holding the ex-worksheet in his hand like a box of bonbons.
We had a giggle and I headed back to the teacher's room to put away my books and get my umbrella.
Joseph and his chum made the universal "free at last!" boyish dash down the stairs, calling out as they ran:
"Goodbye Teacher! Happy Garbage Day!"
A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.