Not Lost In Translation

, | Learning | October 7, 2013

(I am a volunteer working at a government funded program that offers free English-as-Second-Language classes to adult immigrants. As it is a day-time class, most of the students are young stay-at-home-moms or retirees. The students usually communicate in one-word utterances, rather than full sentences. The teacher is taking the attendance.)

Teacher: “[Student #1]? Where is [Student #1]?”

Class: “[Student #1] no school today.”

Teacher: “Oh? Why?”

Class: “Husband come China.”

Teacher: “Her husband came over from China?”

Class: “Yeah. Yeah.”

Teacher: “So? Her husband is not a baby! Why does she need to stay home? She doesn’t need to take care of a husband!”

Class: *laughs*

Student #2: *smiles mischievously and winks* “Bed time.”

(The class erupts into laughter and the teacher starts blushing furiously.)

Teacher: “Okay! I can’t argue with that!”

(It still amazes me how someone who can barely string a few words together to communicate can still find humor and joke around in a language they aren’t familiar with. It’s moments like these that convince me that teaching ESL is something that I want to pursue.)

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