We were talking about invisibility cloaks.
As people often do…
in multi-national ESL grammar classes
(when they are not discussing conjunctions, prepositions, declining bee populations, nuclear contraception and global cucumber size standards).
The class was divided, and a civil debate raged in broken English. Half of the students believed that we would never gain the ability to make objects invisible to the human eye, while the other half claimed we already had the technology, and it was only a matter of years before exploration of the military applications decreased government masturbation time by fifty percent.
I, of course, being the objective teacher, sat straddling the proverbial wooden fence. I moderated, asked provocative questions of each side and poked holes in faulty arguments, pausing only occasionally to pluck fence splinters from my crotch.
I was in Teachers’ Paradise. You’ve heard of the place, I’m sure. It’s a mythical land of plenty where critical thinking skills play games of lacrosse with social skills, and hillsides of curiosity sing with the laughter and debate of mentally inquisitive students. Newly gained knowledge seeps into lively conversation, and beneath every tree of suggestion, new ideas sprout.
I tell you, it was spectacular. Assertions and rebuttals made in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense were flying around like child porn round a minister’s hard drive, and Conditional Passives were mobilizing more quickly than child therapists round a military base.
But, even the finest persimmon rots.
And when I returned from skipping through the knowledge field of flowers in my day-dreamed Teachers’ Paradise, I was forced to hear the REAL discussion going on in my classroom. At that moment, I was flogged by a splintered plunger handle of reality, and any engorged pride I once had in my own teaching skills was immediately deflated.
“If I be indivisible tomorrow, it’s means every soldiers can’t feel me. He don’t touch me and I can murder him not justice.”
“Yes. And I think by 2050, we will have been being make indivisibility by government. This we will have been become a lot of dangerous.”
What? So much for my perceived idyllic debate of logic and insight, and so much for my sanity…
While I thought we were talking about the scientific possibility and potential ramifications of creating a Harry Potter-style Invisibility cloak, we were in fact discussing whether or not humans could be chopped up and divided into little pieces by the government and ‘touched’ and ‘felt’ by soldiers.
Hmmm. Yup, it’s time to call the Nuthouse recruiters. We have yet another delusional ESL teacher to catch.
P.S. For the record: I don’t exaggerate the English skill of my students for comedic purposes. I don’t have to. They really talk like this.
Plus, I've met a few native English speakers who dream of this level of literacy.
And, although they are patriots, these honest souls are still not quite sure if their nation is indivisible, invisible, miserable, commiserable or even liveable...