Friday afternoon.

I’m here in E1 with my year 12 ESL kids. We’re in the middle of the last two periods of the week and the weekend is calling.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m trying something new this year with this group. Every week at this time someone brings a snack for the rest of the group and we munch away as we work. I started the ball rolling 10 weeks ago with popcorn made on the spot with my air popcorn maker, sprinkled with salt and eaten warm. Since then the 9 kids in my class have each taken a turn to bring something to eat. It started out pretty low key, but the last few people have been bringing sushi, honey/soy chicken and other delectable things. (It’s quite nice when these kids have a Chinese restaurant in the family!) It was getting to the stage where I was thinking that by the end of the year we’d be eating Lobster Thermidor and Bombe Alaska. So I decided that I’d keep it a little more simple this week, seeing as it was my turn again.

I got up at 6, surfed the net for an hour or so until the kids started to surface, fed the chickens and then switched the oven on. I was going to make a double portion of Fudgy Choc biscuits. (Cookies to our American friends.) The kids were so pleased because these are everyone’s favourites. Ryan3 came out just as I was putting the second lot out on a tray.

“Oooo, can I have one now?” he said, his hand already outstretched towards the warm biscuits.

“NO!!!!!! Don’t touch them!” I snapped. “These are for my kids.”

He looked stricken. Behind him, Evan4 chimed in, “But we ARE your kids.”


The biscuits are eaten and they’re writing practice essays on the movie ‘On The Waterfront’. They have a test in a week and a half and they’re beginning to get anxious. They have a list of 20 topics to choose from in the handout that we gave them, yet they still wanted some extra topics so I wrote 6 more up on the board. They’re working in almost total silence at the moment, which is making me a little self-conscious about the sound my fingers are making as I tap away on the keyboard.

Of course, as soon as I typed that they started talking. Tsubasa, a lovely guy from Japan, is taking a girl from PLC to her formal tonight. He and Steffi started talking about how he has to go and pick up the corsages and what he’s going to be wearing. I glared at them.

“I’m nervous Miss,” Tsubasa said. “All of those Scotch boys….”

‘You’ll be fine,” I said.

Then it morphed into a discussion about corsages and why the boys had to buy them for the girls. Razi, from Israel, was outraged.

“Why should the boys have to buy them?” he asked.

“It’s traditional,” said Tsubasa.

“You know all of those American movies with the kids going to the Prom?” I said. “The girls have flowers on their wrists or pinned to their dresses? The boys bring these to their dates.”

“But what do the girls provide?” asked Razi.

“The pleasure of their company,” I replied in an airy tone, then started to laugh at the look of disgust that crossed Razi’s face.

“The feminists talk about a repressive partiarchy…!” he muttered.


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7 Responses to Friday afternoon.

  1. andi says:

    I wish I’d had a teacher like you in high school!!

  2. kris says:

    I love your posts. I felt like I was in your class with you and also in the kitchen. (I felt the same confusion and dismay Ryan and Evan must have felt)

    Nice post.

  3. Widget says:

    I love the fact that an ESL kid talks about a “repressive patriachy”! How great is that!

  4. paige says:

    You can assure your student that most American girls buy their prom dates a boutonnière for the lapel. So, the guys get flowers, too.

  5. Ellen says:

    What a scrummy way to end the week. Have a great weekend.

  6. Nice post, but a bit sad about the americanisation of our cultures. Sometimes the TV is the only referrent these kids ever see.

    I don’t really let my kids (I’m a teacher in NZ) eat in my classroom, as I teach computing, and biscuit crumbs in the keyboards is a no-no.
    My own son sometimes complains that I spend more time with my pupils than I do with him. (He’s 25)

  7. Jessalyn says:

    To be fair, American girls are responsible for bringing the fella a boutonniere – a little flower for his suit jacket. Plus, at most schools, one of the major dances per year is Sadie Hawkins style, so the girls asks the guy, and all he provides is the corsage… she picks up the tab for dinner, dance and whatever else 🙂

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