Monday, July 04, 2005


Early this morning I remembered that I'd promised my students I'd bring a Beatles song for them to learn. All our Beatles videos are on DVD, and the school only has VHS, so I'd planned to tape one this weekend. I told The Man about it.

"I'll have to do it next week instead," I said.

The Man responded, as I'd hoped,

"If you have ten minutes, I'll do it now."

He recorded the song while I was getting ready for work. What a sweetie.

In my small class of foreign students (four Chinese and one Vietnamese), I flourished the key to the video cabinet.

"I've got the Beatles video!" I said, and they cheered. They're sick of the textbook.

I opened the cabinet.

But when I got everything apparently working, the sound was crap. It had sounded fine at home, but on the system at school we had the sound turned up to the max and could only hear the music very faintly. That was no good.

I wondered if The Man had recorded the sound on the audio sub-channel, used for bilingual recording, and tried to figure out how to get the sound output from the sub-channel. There didn't seem to be any setting for that. I tried adjusting the tracking. That didn't work either. I fiddled with various mysterious buttons and settings, and nothing worked.

While I was bent over the cabinet getting more and more frustrated, one of the students said something that sounded rather rude.

"Pardon?" I asked. I turned around, flustered.

"You're thick," she repeated, grinning.

"Thick?" I said. "It's not me! It's the video! It isn't working!"

"No, no, no" she said, shaking her head. "Not the video. You are - " she paused and arranged her tongue - "THHHICK."

I stared at her. She was usually a nice person. I thought she liked me. Why was she being so insulting suddenly?

She stared back. Then she grabbed her dictionary, looking exasperated. After a minute she looked up again.

"THIN!" she exclaimed, happily. "You're THIN!"

In the end we moved to another classroom, used a different video player, and the video played perfectly. My students sang,

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello

And so on. It was fun. The lowest level student, who had trouble with the alphabet at the beginning of semester and sometimes feels a bit left out, was in heaven because she could understand all the words. By the third repeat of the song she was singing her heart out.

We all were.

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doris said...

LOL It must be times like that which make the teaching profession quite funny! Reminds me of the time I used to hang out with Germans learning English in London. Washing up in the kitchen after a gathering I was trying to say something nice and complimentary to the girl also helping but now I can't believe I was so stupid and naive..... the word for like and love are similar and I told the girl (who I hardly even knew) that I loved her. Urgh, I wanted the earth to swallow me up when I realised.

What a great way to learn the language by singing it :-)

Cheryl said...

I dare you - next week teach them that realy really thin girls are called Thindy Thupermodel.
Or take in All I want for Crithmath ith my two front teeth?
Glad you are thin and not thick :-)

Lippy said...

Isn't it great when you have days like that at your job! Good to know you're thin, not thick. *giggle*

Mary said...

I'm glad the videotape finally worked. This story is heartwarming.