Friday, March 24, 2006

vocabulary lessons

So yesterday I was actually looking forward to teaching at Problem School. Things have been going well there, lately. I had a new lesson plan prepared for the older students and couldn't wait to try it out; because if I had to talk about American high schools and football games and cheerleading and homecoming one more time I was going to put my head in, well, the microwave, because we don't have an oven. The problem with the American High School Lesson Plan is that the kids like it, it's something they're interested in, which means I've been doing this song-and-dance number, regurgitating all that heteronormative mythology, like 20,000 times.

Plus, the kids all laugh riotously at my freshman year photo; I always end up showing it, they don't have yearbooks in France. I shake my head at that little girl now, my lank hair and huge glasses and steel braces and flannel shirt.

Anyway, I had a new lesson plan: The Academy Awards. Movies ought to hold their interest, by golly. I put together a transparency with pictures of the winners and posters of the nominated films, asked them to describe what they saw. Who is this? How is he dressed? How does he feel? Why? What's in this poster? What do you think it's about? Which award did it win? It was good because the only movie they'd heard of was Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, so they had to do a lot of speaking and speculation and guessing. They knew George Clooney but not Reese Witherspoon or Ang Lee.
Next was Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and that's when I learned that capote in French is slang for condom.
Picture me standing at the overhead, wondering why a room full of 15 year olds are suddenly snickering at me.
"Well," I snapped, "in English Capote is a name and it means 'really great writer', okay? So who can describe how he's dressed?"

Still, not as bad as the time I inadvertently drew a rather phallic depiction of the Great Lakes. Hormones. The atmosphere's soaked with them; I'm gonna catch their acne if I don't get out soon. Baby Dyke has taken to blushing a vivid shade of crimson when she talks to me, poor thing.


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