You live and learn

I am learning to assume nothing.

As this course goes on it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that, no matter how good your lesson plan is, no matter how well timed and staged each aspect of your lesson is, the students will always throw you.

Pedro started it of course, with is steadfast refusal (in my very first ever lesson!) to discuss stereotypes, because he “doesn’t believe in them”.

I have since had a few beers with ole Pedro. Turns out his hero is Che Guevara.

I shoulda known! Who else would Pedro the renegade admire?

I explained to him that I was rather partial to Che myself, as portrayed by the enchanting Gael Garcia Bernal , but it didn’t seem to go down well.

I guess in Pedro’s eyes Che was never so damn pretty.

Fair enough.

In any case, back to the classroom. For although Pedro may have been the first to throw me, I’m sure he won’t be the last.

The other day for example, was a classic. A moment in which the only response is a hearty guffaw that shakes the building, terrifies the students and perplexes the tutors.

We were in the class and trying to get the students to discuss their “typical weekend” .

To help get them started, we’d posted a few nice pictures around the walls of fun things you can get up to of a Saturday.

You know the thing: a walk in the park, shopping for new shoes, eating lunch, going to the cinema.

We’re pointing to the pictures and asking the students to describe the acitivty.

All is going well.

Then we get to a picture of a girl in a pub drinking a pint of beer.

Pretty simple really.

“At the weekend I typically go to the pub.”

Some such sentence would have been the thing we’d have expected.

But no. Like I say, never assume anything.

Antonio is sitting in his chair squinting at this photo and discussing it in Spanish with his partner. Presumably they’re discussing what the girl is doing.

I turn to Antonio and point to the picture, wanting him to tell me, in English, what’s going on.

He squints and squints, then a little light goes on in his head!

Aha! I know what this photo is!

” English! She is English, no?”

End of lesson….because:

(a) the teacher is on the floor laughing and
(b) because really, when you think about it, what more does Antonio possibly need to know about the English than that?….


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