Teaching Them About The Birds And The Beers

, , , , | Learning | December 8, 2018

(I am an American living in China, teaching young kids aged three to twelve. We have two main categories. The first one is based on age. If you’re three, you go to a specific level, same for four or five. The second category is based on skill, and you’re given a proficiency exam to go into it, or a kid ages into it by completing the first category. This takes place in my lowest level of the second category.)

Me: “Okay, guys. We’re going to learn, ‘What’s up?’ It’s like saying, ‘How are you?’ but more fun. Okay, [Student #1], what’s up?”

Student #1: “I’m okay.”

Me: “Good start.”

(I turn to the next student. He tends to learn things a bit slower than the others, so I expect the exact same response.)

Me: “[Student #2], what’s up?”

Student #2: “Birds.”

(I crack up. I have no idea how he knows this.)

Me: “Great, [Student #2].”

(I keep practicing this for several weeks, and each week [Student #2] always says, “Birds,” probably because I always laugh and he likes the positive attention. Finally, I tell him, “No more birds.”)

Me: “Okay, [Student #2], no more birds. What’s up?”

Student #2: *pauses* “Birds and beer!”

(I’ve had quite a few hilarious instances with the kids in China, and their amazing way with playing with the language, but I have no idea where he picked that up from! To this day, it’s one of my highlights of teaching in China.)

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