Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Miscommunication in the Classroom

Sorry, this isn't going to be a brilliant post based on weeks of study. I just felt that I had to tell you about the situation that took place in my class last night, because it's too funny to pass up!

Class had just ended and we were all gathering our things to walk out the door. One of the students casually asked me if I had gone on a paintball outing that several of the teachers had recently. I said no because I'm more of a sit down and drink a cup of coffee with a good book kind of gal -- running around dodging balls of paint isn't exactly my idea of a good time. I then added that on top of that, I had heard that paintballs hurt when they hit you. Then she looked at me and in front of the entire class said, "Oh, because you have boobs."

"Because I have boobs???" I asked, somewhat surprised. Granted, students say things like this all the time because they watch American movies and think we all talk like this on a regular basis. And I really don't mind because they're just trying to figure out how to speak English. But this time I was a bit surprised because I was subing this class -- this was the first time I had met them, and they were already talking about "boobs!" Usually they wait a few days before they shyly begin to try out their English slang vocabulary. I also thought she had a good point. If a paintball hit me in that area, I'm sure it would hurt.

So after my little outburst (I had repeated her question rather loudly -- that's just how a teacher talks) the students looked at each other. They seemed scared, as if they didn't know what to do. Then the girl said in a very uncertain sort of way, "Um, because you have bruise."

Oh. Oops.

And this sort of thing happens almost every day! My job is definitely interesting.

P.S. Pronunciation is very important!


  1. Well if they don't have the slang figured out yet--maybe you are safe.
    But if not--now they all know you have boobs.
    I was just dealing with Julia tonight about her grammar. They think it is cool to let things slid. You end up with back country mush. My mother would die.

  2. Cahleen, stopped in via Stacy's blog and totally cracked up when I read this!

    Too funny!!!

  3. I read a simiiar story to this in the forumosa forum about a teacher who thought her student was saying "tits" when in fact she was trying to say "teeth"!

  4. LOL...great story! I love muddled language stories. We all have them in mastering another language.

  5. haaahaaa, i'm sure i've had moments like that too!

  6. Sharon,

    Ahhh, the joys of teaching!

    23 degrees,

    Thanks for visiting me! I just peeked at your blog and look forward to reading more. I'm glad you got a kick out of this!


    I actually read that story on forumosa and cracked up when I read it. I mean literally out-loud laughing! I think that story is funnier than mine.


    Yes, we've all been on the other end, haven't we?


    I guess this is what makes language learning fun, isn't it?

  7. good thing she didn't say "big bruise."

  8. THAT was too funny...
    I can't imagine WHAT I would say trying to speak THAT language!
    thanks for the laugh...
    you know we have that problem here, in the DEEP SOUTH...and we ALL speak English...;)
    have a great night or day..I forgot to check the time!

  9. Just for reference yes paintball do leave a "bruise" whether you are hit in the ‘boobs’ or anywhere! Way to funny of a story thanks for the laugh. My husband and son use to play, big black marks very painful.

  10. mj,

    Your comment cracked me up, and you're absolutely right!


    I don't know if anyone has told you this before, but I love your blogger pic! Thanks for stopping by again, my friend.


    You've just confirmed my suspicions. Why would anyone willingly subject themselves to that kind of pain?

  11. I am rolling!!!Ha I didn't see the ending. What a delight to be experiencing the things you are! Cherish the time that you have and never be hard on yourself, just take each day and smile...

    I am speaking from experience...Husband was stationed in Germany when I was 23...we opted to not live on base and live and learn the culture and the country...what an incredible time I had...and yes I even opted to have my 2 middle sons in German hospitals...I loved being in Europe and would not trade those 4 years for the world.

  12. It's great to "see" you again, Jennifer! I missed you!


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