Every now and then I have a class that is just hands-down excellent. My Thursday afternoon class consists of nine girls studying Marketing. The dynamic of a three hour class with nine 18 year old girls is… unique. Because of the amount of time that I get to spend with them (and the number of students) we cover things incredibly rapidly, leaving time for projects. I've got big plans for these gals—namely, I want to end the semester with a Western-style dinner, complete with forks, knives, and individual servings. Some English, too.
The most recent project was to write a letter. After not finding an ESL class whose age and level would be comparable to the girls, I decided to enlist the help of a few of my friends. After a few weeks, and a few rounds in the dictionary, we had come up with a three part letter, written out nicely, not really edited and sent. I pulled out a map to show the girls where their soon to be penpals live. Through a combination of questions (Boy or girl? Handsome? Is Little Rock in the green state or the pink state?) they picked who they were going to write to. The introductions of paragraph one went generally quite smoothly. Name, age, birthday, family, likes. We wrote these in class and peer-edited and did what you are supposed to do when writing drafts. The other two paragraphs—about Thailand and questions for the addressee—were where the magic happened.
(If you are an intended recipient of a letter, skip this part so as not to ruin the surprise.)
Thailand has admirable and atmoshere good at Bangkok.
My favorite food is chicken KFC. (at which point I showed them Kentucky on the map and received a number of oooh/ahhhhs for my trouble)
I am lovely young.
Thailand has custom is Thai New Year festival, ceremony of floating miniature ships made of banana leaves.
You beautiful and handsome. (After inquiring how to ask if her match had a girlfriend, I explained the word 'gay.' She decided the best way to compliment this gay friend was with this sentence)
I like to take a break.
I like is activity and adultery. (One of the many reasons dictionaries can be dangerous.)
I am funny, nice and lovdy.
Thailand has me place wonder in every province.
Do you paddy field?
All of this loveliness aside, the letters were well done and they are eagerly awaiting responses. When we met yesterday, we were able to just have a good class. We talked about "what will you do ______ (tomorrow, tonight, next week, etc)?" We looked up the word adultery in the dictionary and gave the girl who wrote it a bit of a hard time with the question "What will you do tonight?" Once we went over time, the girls kept telling me that they will go home at 4 pm, when class should end around 6:30. When I told them that next week I will go to Bangkok, they asked if they could come, if I could buy them presents… which led to the sentences "Next week I will go to Bangkok. Next week I will go shopping," bringing squeals. They then kept asking me questions for the last few minutes of class, mostly in Thai, but some in English. "What will you do next year?" was a fun one. They thought my answer of having no idea was HILARIOUS. All in all, we joked around, but joked around with the occasional use of English. It felt so good to laugh with them, make fun of their schedules, talk to them about their internship in Bangkok next year. They even tried to convince me that if I did not have any work in the US that I should just stay in Thailand. This led to talk of boyfriends, which then went on to if the boys receiving their letters were handsome.
I know this post sounds disjointed and random, but the class flowed well and we had fun. They invited me to lunch on Sunday as long as I promise not to speak too much English.