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Body, Mind & Smell February 28, 2008

Posted by Mitch in General.

At Elementary School this week I’ve been teaching them about the plural s. To do this, I’ve introduced the question “Do you have brothers and sisters?” To be honest, I was dreading it, as I know that the addition of an extra letter to make a word plural can befuddle people that speak a language that doesn’t do that natively. However, my kids have taken to it like a Japanese person to raw fish. Most of them hardly seem to have to give it any thought. I’ve got to say, I’m really starting to notice my kids getting better. Every lesson we review what we did the previous lesson and refresh the other questions that we’ve covered so far and the constant repetition really has made it stick. I’ve also got to admit, that when I ask my Junior High students how they are, most of them cock their heads to one side, mumble something, cock their heads to the other side, look at me blankly and finally venture “Aimu…guddo?” My Elementary Students have no such hang-ups and I often ask them in the corridors how they are and it just rolls off the tongue for some of them.

The class that I’ve just had are a class of 4th graders and are therefore 9-10 years old. It is this class where the kids constantly smell me. I know, right – if they’re not laughing at my crotch (for the record, that’s only at Junior High) they’re inhaling me. When it first happened, I thought they were taking the piss, so I ignored it. However, having heard the phrase “Ii nioi” uttered quite a few times and finding out that, roughly translated it means, “Goddamn it, Mitch, you smell great!” I’ve taken to indulging them and allowing them the odd olfactory treat in class. Most of them run up to me outside of the classroom and sniff me there. I’ve got to say, it’s a little weird, but I suppose at least they’re not being malicious.

I got the elusive timetable for March and really am pleased – it turns out that, other than the first week when I’ve got to go into school on a Saturday for graduation, I don’t have a full week of school this coming month, as they wind down towards the end of their school year. This means I can wind down and get ready for my holiday in Malaysia in peace.

Yesterday, I went into Junior High after Elementary School which is unprecedented, just because I don’t want them thinking that it’s OK to do that – doing lessons at Elementary isn’t easy, especially with the language difference and the last thing I want to do when I’m finished is go and sit in a stuffy staffroom playing on my computer. That, I can do at home!

So I went in, because Julie asked me to help her prepare the final test for the 2nd graders. It’s quite nice that I get consulted on what they should be presented with and I take an active part in preparing things. Yesterday I was choosing sentences for them to translate and drew a map for their directions quiz. The real reason I’m mentioning it is because I went in for an hour and a half in the end and they absolutely loved me for it. The sheer fact that I had taken time out to help them really was appreciated and there were profuse apologies for annoying me and compliments galore showered upon me. All in all, my time here is becoming much easier to bear as I’m enjoying things, even the teaching side of things. Of course, there are still lots of lessons where things don’t go to plan, the kids are comatose, the teacher tells the kids in front of you that she has no earthly clue what you’re wittering on about (like my first lesson yesterday) and it makes you want to rip off your own arm just to have something to throw at them. But there are good days and I don’t acknowledge that enough.

Still never going to be a teacher though…

Till next time!



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