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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Paul and the gang have a real talent for asking me strange questions about the outcome of wildly improbable battles.

It all started back in the winter with simple animal vocabulary books.

Obviously "vs." is immediately recognizable to most kids, but no one before me had explained that it stands for "versus", so the initial questions were along the lines of:

"Teacher! Moose vs. fox, who win?"

It was literally like this with every creature we would come across, and Joey in particular was curious which docile herbivore might knock another's teeth out.

As the kids have gotten better, their questions have become more... let's say esoteric.

"Teacher! Electric blanket fight fart, who win?"

Along those sort of lines.

Today I said we didn't have any more time for ridiculous fighting questions.

Paul couldn't resist a coup de grace.

"Teacher! Ridiculous fight horrible, who win?"

"Adjectives can't fight each other Paul."

"Adjective fight noun, who win?"

"No parts of speech can fight each other."

"Speech fight writing, who win?"

As you can see, it's these kids that give me the strength to handle the rest, some of which I'm sure make a habit of muttering disparaging remarks about me in Korean under their breath daily.

In my one-on-one class with Paul he wrote the definition of the word "challenge" as this:

"Conan the Barbarian and Jack Bauer fight."

He picks up the most random stuff. Jeremy was talking about 24, and those Chuck Norris-esque jokes but with Jack Bauer's name instead (like, "Jack Bauer could strangle you with a cordless phone") so Paul insisted on knowing all about this Jack Bauer character. I mentioned one of his random drawings looked like Conan the Barbarian, and he needed to know all about it. This kid is obviously learning oodles from me. Now I just need to hammer home the proper grammatical pattern: "If __ fought __ who would win?" Or is that more or less like requesting an umbrella during water torture?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Man, you totally have some of the most ridiculous students. Paul is a complete sponge. If only you could harness his absorbing power somehow.

By the way, did you know that Jack Bauer sleeps with a pillow under his gun?