Every single day, something new and hilarious happens in my classes. I've been trying to take notes so I can write them down here later. Here are some of the notes I've been hoarding over the past few days.
1. I have a student who wants to be called "Shack". Not Shaq. Shack. Alright.
2. Previously, I had wondered if the name Mark meant something else in Chinese. I asked Jack about it, and yes. It does. It is apparently extremely similar to the Chinese word for "motherfucker". I'll have to make sure the Marks in my classes change their names or something.
3. Everyone here is obsessed with Tom and Jerry. I think I'm going to try to find an episode and make a study guide with questions for them to answer.
4. Some of my kids know really random facts about America. One of my girls wrote to me, "I remember the north and south have battle. I remember north had free black men fight in battle". I think it's interesting that they learn about the Civil War, especially since I know next to nothing about any in-depth Chinese history. We only really had European history, not Asian.
5. I also think that "bin Laden" means something dirty in Chinese. I've been having my kids tell me what they think of when they think of America, so I can see what they know and how well they can express themselves in English. One of the boys in my class today had written something down on a piece of paper and was trying to raise it up and show it to me instead of saying it aloud. I asked him to pass it forward so I could see it, and he had written two Chinese characters. Under one it said, "bin" and under the other, "ladan". He absolutely refused to say it out loud, though, and when I said, "bin Laden?" the entire class started laughing. Saying just "Osama", however, doesn't get the same response.
6. I don't know who/what Mr. Bean is, but they all love him. I've had at least three boys who want their English name to be Mr. Bean.
7. They don't know the difference between Mr., Miss, and Mrs. I use my name card, which says, "Miss Mary", to show them how to make their own for their desk. I had lots of my boys write "Miss Todd" or "Miss Jeff" or "Miss Jack" (three popular names) on their cards. I wrote on the board "Boys - Mr." and "Girls - Miss", and they changed it. They also have been calling me "Mrs. Mary", which makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.
8. Not only did one of my classes know about Osama bin Laden, they also shouted out Saddam and Gaddafi. Sweet. All I could think when I heard Gaddafi was, "remember that time when we found papers that said your government is probably guilty of selling guns to Gaddafi after the UN ban?" I wonder how they know about Gaddafi, and what they're being told about him. I really, really need to find a Chinese news source translated into English.
9. Sometimes, the kids in my classes get really upset if I erase the chalkboard when I first walk in or right before I leave. There's always one kid in class, and it's their job to clean the chalkboard. They almost always run up and take the eraser out of my hand. Not during class, but before or after. Quite interesting. The fact that the children are in charge of cleaning the school probably explains why it's so dirty and the bathrooms smell so bad. Who really expects 11-17 year olds to do a good job cleaning a building?
10. I still hate chalkboards.