Last week in class I assigned a midterm evaluation - a process, or "how to" presentation, in pairs. Students can choose whatever - anything! - they want to teach the class. So long as they're speaking English in front of the class for at least five minutes.
I created an example presentation. My topic: How to become a master of text messaging.
Also introduced: b/f & g/f, btw, ppl, sec, omg!, ttyl, w/o, xoxo, thx, cya, asap & wtf! (the last one only because I knew I could get away with it. hehe. oops.)
Their assignment for the rest of class that day was to compose a text message to me, telling me something about their weekends, using as many of the "abbreeves" as they could. They were to send the message during class time (just acknowledging what every single student and teacher since, like, nineteen ninety-TWO knows but ignores that goes on in the back of class, under a desk, in laps, etc)
I was surprised that the message seemed to reach all classes except for Thursday's. I consider my Thursday class (Secretary English 091. Yup, you read it right. Their course of study is aimed at making them the best possible bilingual secretaries this country could ask for) to be the brightest, so I'm still not so sure how they got so confused at the instructions. The result? I received a minimum of ten messages during class that had only one abbreviation and nothing else. At least seven said "xoxo" (they really liked that one). One simply said "thx."
I giggled to myself and shook my head throughout class while receiving these messages. After all, miscommunication is inevitable in our relationship. It's practically written in the job description. I've gotten frustrated in the past about such problems (ok, they've been slightly more severe than this funny one) but have learned not to anymore. Eight times out of ten, they're not being lazy or punky, they just legitimately didn't understand me, and how can I fault them for that?
No big deal, their English isn't going to suffer because they failed to send their crazy Western teacher a little text message. Can't win them all, right?
Well, I should have known to expect more from this class. All weekend, and even up through this (Monday) morning, I have received a constant stream of text messages with news from their weekends.
I'm Elaine, I think too much ppl will go shopping at weekend . I don't like crowed.But idk where to go. So i will sleep for a day ,hahahaha! Omg! I'm so lazy .. --!
This weekend I will go to bbq with my bf,haha btw,Iwant to tell U :I like going to your class! idk why.xoxo U, cya! I am Joan.
I am Nancy Do u have a free time on this weekend we want to bbq Btw I love cya smile u smile make me feel happy
How do you do? My English name is Abe. I have a dream all the time.But I don't know how to come ture my dream. My dream is to eat and travel around the worled. I like eating very much. Do you have the same interests? I want to eat all the food on the world. When I eat, I am very happy. And the feel is very cool. But I think if I have a boyfriend to company with me, that's very good. By the way , I want to go to your America , because I have never gone.
Thanks to see my message.
OH BOY! How about those gems? And then, there's dear Helen (her favorite English word is "good," because her high school English teacher never said it to her):
And today Business English 091 had their second round of presentations, beginning with Susan and Jane who talked us through How to find the best jeans for your butt. It is a shame ("what a pity!" as they would say here) that they don't listen to each other speaking English. Because I can tell you that 45 of the 46 audience members really missed out on some great fashion tips - not to mention the entertainment factor. I shrieked with surprised delight at statements such as "be sure not to select a stiff denim, otherwise the pant will flatten your butt like a pancake" & another tip, which promised to maximize the amount of "junk in your trunk," while their classmates cluelessly looked back at me to see what I was giggling about.
Oh, and Lucy and Gal's interactive presentation of How to make a facial mask from milk, banana and honey really did leave the backs of my hands feeling silky smooth. Though upon closer inspection, I don't think they appear any whiter like they promised...