Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Exhibit A: Sideburns


Yes, this is my second posting. I do plan on writing here a bit more from now on. Just to update: I'm doing a TESOL course now (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), I've done the in class part, and I've just got some of the online electives to go. I'm such a brilliant procrastinator. I'm also doing prac teaching at a language school in the city of Brisbane at the moment, which is fun, but I want to be tested more, have to do more work, because I don't really know how much I'm learning just from facilitating conversations.

Anyway, yesterday I sat in on a class in the morning. They were intermediate students, and they were learning about how to describe people physically...

...lanky, skinny, wiry, stocky, petite, curvy, chubby, slim, shapely, well-built, overweight, slender, bald, double chin, sideburns, broad-shouldered, long-legged, high cheekbones, six pack, ponytail, pigtail, goatee, flat-chested, broad-chested, pigeon-chested, big-boned, bony, skin and bones, handsome, gorgeous, attractive, hunky, cute, scruffy, pretty, beautiful...

The teacher was trying to explain sideburns. He pointed to his own very short ones, and two of the students, Smith and Kevin (don't you just love Asian names!) had small ones too, and then Kevin pointed to me and said "He has big sideburns", and the whole class turned and laughed at me. It was kinda funny, especially when the teacher said "Yes, he has fantastic sideburns". Oh lordy.

They were given magazines and they had to work in pairs and go through them and find someone they found attractive, and describe why they found that person attractive. It was really funny, especially when some of the students hadn't grasped what some of the words mean... I remember one girl saying "He's very slim and stocky". It's a great activity, but part of me was uneasy with that. I guess it's something most people wouldn't think about, but if any of the students were gay, and not comfortable with it, they might have had a really hard time of it. That's why I don't think I'd ever use that activity, because you'd never be able to tell if you're putting even just one of your students in a really awkward position of deciding whether to be honest or lie. Something that's not often thought about. I remember my German teacher got us to describe our ideal partner - hehe, "Tall, dark and handsome" may have raised a few eyebrows. End of rant.

One of my conversation students in the afternoon was called Hoon.

With the Japanese accent he sounds halfway between he and she. Kind of like adding a y sound after the h, like hyee. Much mirth and merriment ensued when I asked a question following on from what someone was telling me about a male friend of theirs: "Did she... ?"

I'm kind of on and off, half-heartedly starting to learn Polish, because it might be a great place for me to begin teaching. My favorite thing is that they have a one syllable word for elephant: an animal which is hardly common in their country (słoń pronounced a lot like swan). And they have a crazy two syllable word for bee which is a much more common creature in Poland I'm guessing (pszczoła - which is a p followed by an sh sound, followed by a ch sound like in chair, followed by an o like in hot, and then followed by wa). I'm crazy, I've taught myself the words for frog (żaba) and needle (igła) before words like food.

I'm going to see the Wallace and Gromit movie tonight. I'll let you know how it is. Before I forget, I must command you all to see the movie The Jacket. See it at all costs! It's great. It's beautiful. It has Keira Knightly and Adrien Brody in it. Get! Now! Watch! Enjoy!



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