Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cry of the not-so-mute mime

I admit I’m probably a scary teacher.

A lovable teacher, yes, but an obviously crazy one.

Afterall, it’s not natural for any human to spontaneously burst into animated gorilla improvisations when explaining uses of gerunds and infinitives. Nor is it considered sane to employ another human being to pick their nose so that you can illustrate the uses of the past perfect continuous tense. (He had been picking his nose when the gorilla decided to interrupt him.)

But, that’s why I love my job. As an ESL teacher I am, by design and purpose, encouraged to foster a comfortable environment in which everyone can theatrically pick their nose, scratch their rear hairs and pretend to be a gorilla. The students are, afterall, learning a new language that will inevitably make them look like idiots at some point when they misuse it, so why not make them comfortable with that feeling right away?

Unfortunately, I’ve found more often that it’s just me who feels like the idiot.

Student: I like ramen. And I enjoy bagels. They are very delicious.

Me: No way!!?? (exaggerated arm-flaling) You like ramen?? (exaggerated slurping gestures) Oh my god (mocking prayer reenactment), you like New York style bagels too?? I can’t believe it!! (exaggerated facial expressions of disbelief) But don’t you think the demand (overacted grabbing gestures) for onion bagels (donut sketches on the whiteboard) promotes excessive planting of onions fields (mimed tears over onion chopping) resulting in infertile soil? (lying on the floor, pretending to be nutrient-depleted earth)

Student: Uh… I don’t like onion bagels.

Me: Oh.

I’m becoming increasingly worried that my tendency to over-use gestures and childish imagination might one day be the end of my social life.

(dramatic enactment of tears rolling down my face onto my Mac)

4 comments:

dingobear said...

Haha! You slay me, -c. My only regret is that you don't teach impressionable kids.

frusttated writer said...

Makes you wonder what they think of nose-picking gorillas who smear ramen on bagels, sans the onion? I think you could teach my class anytime.

Cap'n Rich said...

Dear not so...,

Hilarious as per usual. I think you are a great teacher even if you are a mite touched.

-c said...

dingobear- don't worry-- my plan is to creatively corrupt....I mean, "teach" many an impressionable child in the future.

frustrated writer- I would love to teach your class. Can you write up the grant proposal for gorilla costumes, bagels, ramen and a few banana outfits? Afterall, teaching effectively requires important tools:)

cap'n- Cheers! Your suggestion that I might be a mite touched is making me feel itchy. But, I suppose that's how it feels when you're 'touched':)