Boys Will be Boys and so am I

I didn’t mean to be snippy but I was. I don’t think they meant to be rude but they were.

The young men in the class I teach on Sundays play well together which means they like to play a lot. Eventually, however good they are at the beginning of the day, after lunch they start to get excess distracted energy and look for ways to burn it.

The first guy who, by colossal coincidence, was almost thrown out last week, has a habit of trying to make jokes out of questions. When I asked him, as the assignment required, how much he typically paid for a haircut, he responded with “one dollar”. I then asked him where he got his hair cut and he repeated “one dollar”. He tried to escalate the joke from there but I cut it off. I promised him I’d never call on him again, which, of course, means he won’t get any participation points.

The second guy went into parrot mode which meant every time I spoke he thought it was funny and repeated what I said. This is a default mode for male high school students in Japan, but it won’t serve him well at a US university.

Finally, when I said the word “cheaper” (we were studying comparative adjectives) he started repeating “cheaper, cheaper, cheaper” and laughed as he did it.

He may have been trying to impress a young woman, but it was my time to make an impression. I stopped class and got his attention and asked him if there was something wrong with my pronunciation. The conversation went something like:

Him–What?
Me–Is there something wrong with my pronunciation?
Him–What?
Me–After I said “cheaper” you started repeating it and laughing. Did I say it wrong?
Him–(after a long pause/translation help from the young woman he was trying to impress) I’m sorry.

The funny part is, after all these years in Japan, my pronunciation probably was pretty bad. I kind of wish he’d helped me out.

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