Politically Correct Pirates Are Unassailable

, , , , | Related | November 19, 2013

(My mom, sisters, and I are chatting online a few days after Halloween.)

Sister #1: “So what were you for Halloween, Mom?”

Mom: “I was a gypsy. My first graders didn’t know what that was, so I had to tell them.”

Sister #2: “Actually, Mom, they prefer to be known as the Roma, not gypsies. It’s considered a derogatory term.”

Mom: “Oh, wow, I didn’t know that. I guess I had better retire that costume and figure out something new for next year that’s more politically correct. [Sister #3], what were you for Halloween?”

Sister #3: “Oh, I was a pirate.”

Me: “Actually, they prefer to be known as ‘mercenaries’ these days. ‘Pirate’ is so not PC.”

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The Sound Of Silence

, | Learning | November 5, 2013

(We have recently switched to an online curriculum.)

Teacher: “And has anyone had problems using the new curriculum?”

Student: “Most of it has worked for me, but I can’t get the sound to work.”

(There is stunned silence.)

Teacher: “This is a sign language class, [Student].”

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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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The First And True Language Of America

, , , , , | Right | September 23, 2013

(I’m waiting in line behind a woman who is speaking on her cellphone in another language. Ahead of her is a white man. After the woman hangs up, he speaks up.)

Man: “I didn’t want to say anything while you were on the phone, but you’re in America now. You need to speak English.”

Woman: “Excuse me?”

Man: *very slow* “If you want to speak Mexican, go back to Mexico. In America, we speak English.”

Woman: “Sir, I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English, go back to England.”

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Still In A Vegetative State

, , , , | Related | August 23, 2013

(My brother and I are both in the kitchen before school. I’m 19 and he’s 14. I am up very late, as usual, and am a bit out of it.)

Me: “[Brother], pass me the p*rn cops.”

Brother: “…I guess I know why you were up so late.”

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