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Test Time and Stinky

Teaching invitations is very fun, sometimes. It’s the first unit I’ve broken away from the textbook for, because the textbook isn’t really very clear about what’s really a very simple process. When you want to invite someone out to do something, you need to do four things:

  1. Figure out if they like the kind of activity you’re thinking of inviting the person to join you in…
  2. Figure out when the person is free to join you in this activity.
  3. Extend an invitation to the person.
  4. Set up a time and place to meet.

Some classes get this much more easily, and quickly, than other classes. It’s strange, one class that stood to be my worst at the beginning of the year, is actually doing okay. But they had a hard time with this, with using all of the formulaic questions that are involved (which I wrote out on the board for them…

So I wandered from group to group as they practiced this conversation, having students invite me out to different activities. Since everyone but one student is a girl and they mostly have a good sense of humor, I hammed it up all the way along, pretending to be very disappointed when schedules didn’t match and playing a very excited young man when plans solidified. They were very amused by it all, but… they still need more practice at it. So… Tuesday will be practice, and Thursday the test.

Test time is funny… I was running late this morning, and when I went out to hail a cab, I saw a student clinging to a study sheet. It had English on it, I noticed, and since I live so close to the University, I asked the girl if she was going to Jeonju University. She was actually going to the same building as me, so we took the cab together, and then I noticed that her study sheet had all the standard questions for the English Upgrade midterm test. It turned out that the other new guy on staff, Michael, is her teacher, and that she was coming to school for a 8:30am test. So I gave her an impromptu quiz on the way to school, for which she seemed grateful. Then we talked about music… it seems, I found out later when relaying this story to Michael, that some pack of music students I’ve never met apparently know who I am and think that I am handsome. That’s nice, for whatever it’s worth…

As for the campus… the students have this wild, cornered prey look on their faces, well, the ones who aren’t napping when you see them. I got an SMS message from one of my students claiming she had to study all night for her exams today. She wrote, very eloquently, “HALP ME!!!” Walking around campus, it seems most people share the sentiment.

Last thing: I was thinking about what it must have been like to live 200 years ago. In those days, there was no such thing as mouthwash. I suppose in those days it wasn’t very odd for people to stink. But these days, when I crouch down to help some pair of pretty young girls with their sentence structure, and I smell toilet breath, I can’t help but feel some kind of sense of cognitive dissonance, as if some crucial law of reality has just been violated. It’s really strange. We expect people who look good to also smell good. And when they don’t, it’s even slightly shocking. And I can’t imagine when it was otherwise.

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