My first class of the week is often my toughest: It’s 9:00am on a Monday morning, my kids are tired of all the studying they do and, quite frankly, thinking in another language so early in the morning is not an easy task. I remember having French Translation lectures at 7:30am on a Monday and Friday in my third year of university and French always seemed so much more difficult in those two hours than any other lecture of the week so I understand and sympathise with my students. As a result, I try to make the lesson as entertaining as possible: This means acting like a fool most days. Today, as I regale my students with highlights of Saturday night’s concert – brownie points for me for attending a Korean concert in the first place! – my students tell me that I’m dynamic; I think this is merely a synonym for “you’re acting like a clown but we like it!” so I continue my foolish antics.
Part of my antics involves miming new vocabulary and expressions to try and help students to guess the meanings. Our textbook this semester is a British based rather than American based book, which works perfectly for me, and contains many uniquely British expressions among others. Since my kids are mostly exposed to American English, there are regularly new expressions in the dialogues that require clarification. Today is no different…
We’re finishing off the unit about News. The dialogues in the unit give scenarios of people receiving good and bad news and how to respond appropriately. One of the responses is “lucky fish” – an expression that simultaneously conveys happiness and a touch of envy. While encouraging my students guess this expression to fill in the blank in the dialogue, I suck in my cheeks, place my hands on either side of my face and proceed to move them back and forth in what I think is a reasonable fish face. After three classes successively guess “monkey”, I question my last class of the day as to what is wrong with my fish face. Turns out, I had accidently inverted the motion and was waving my palms towards my nose instead of my ears – monkey indeed!
Over the Moon!
The next expression we cover is “over the moon!”, which I explain is used to describe your feeling when you receive very good news. Their next activity requires students, in pairs, to do a short news ‘broadcast’ on a topic of their choice. To make it easier for some students, I encourage them to cover school related topics like events in the classroom and dormitories or the reason that the side gate (which is the shortest route to my apartment from school) has suddenly been locked for the past two weeks. Some groups gets creative and make up entertaining fictitious stories of school events while others report on real happenings of which I’m unaware. As mentioned in a previous post, these kids are very close to their homeroom teachers and often know personal details about the lives of the teachers, which they then happily share with me. Today is no exception.
The topic of one of the news clips is that of Six-pack having broken up with his girlfriend. When describing his reaction to the break-up, the students reported that he is “over the moon”. Having seen Six-pack looking a little less confident the last few days, something tells me that my students haven’t fully understood the meaning of the second of today’s expressions. The news clips, however, provide great entertainment and comic relief in the last 15 minutes of the lesson.