English Snafus: More Memories from My ESL Days

Last week I shared some of my favorite quotes from my ESL students, back from the phenomenal year that I spent in beautiful South Korea.  This week, with your indulgence, I’d like to share a few more:

Anne and Angie (nine-year-old girls): “Teacher! Teacher! We saw a foreigner today!”
Me: “You did?”
Anne: “Yes. He was a man and we talked to him.”
Angie: “Teacher, he can be your new friend!”
Anne: “Maybe you will marry him.”
Angie: “Yes, Teacher, you should marry him! He’s very nice. He talks fast, but you can talk to him.”
Me: “Was he handsome?”
Anne: “Oh yes, he looks like Brad Pitt.”
(They compared a lot of men to Brad Pitt)
Me: “Ooh, I don’t like Brad Pitt.”
Angie: “That’s all right, Teacher. You can change him when you marry him!”

So excited about English!

Steve (a third grader):  “Teacher, are you okay? Your face look like dead human.”  (I was sick that day.)

Jake (a fifth grader):  “Teacher, it’s my turn!”   (We were playing a game and he had caught a ball intended for a different student.)
Me:  “No, Jake, you just had a turn.  Give the ball to Meg.”
Jake:  “But Teacher, it’s my turn. God gave me the ball!”

Me: “How are you today?”
David: “I am hot and smelly!”

(During a discussion about occupations.)
Me: “If your father is driving too fast in his car, who does he get into trouble with?”
Jake: “My mother.”

Me: “What shape is this?” (pointing to a circle)
Harry (a kindergartner): “Fat!”

Me: “What does a zookeeper do?”
Sam (a kindergartner): “Eats the animals.”

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Evan: “Lee Myung-Bak [current president of South Korea].”
Me: “You mean president of Korea?”
Evan: “Yes”
Leon: “Teacher, I go to USA if Evan president!”

Amy (my little three-year-old cherub): (holding a pencil up to her nose) “Teacher! Me Pee-oh-key-o [Pinocchio]!”

Me: (holding a textbook in front of me) “Where is the book?”  (We were studying prepositions.)
Sarah: “It’s in front of the tummy!”

Me: “What do whales eat?”
Eddy (a kindergartner): “Lots and lots and lots and LOTS of fish!” (at which point he fell off his chair from the vast amount of energy he put into his answer)

Me: “What is one international food that you like?”
Leon: “Ummmm….sushi.”
Me: “Sushi? Oh, well, yeah I guess that counts. You’re from Korea, so Japanese food would be international.”
Evan: “And very expensive!”

Story time!

(During a game of Apples to Apples)
Meg: “Teacher, what is brilliant?”
Me: “Very smart, um, very good, like a student who gets 100% on every test. The student would be brilliant.” (Obviously there are more definitions for the word, but when teaching ESL, I usually teach just one definition at a time.)
Meg: “Okay.” (looking through her cards) “Not this one.” (referring to the “Tom Cruise” card)

Me: (pointing to the number 1,000,000 on the board) “What number is this?”
Tommy and Lisa: “One thousand thousand!”

Me: “If I go out and I punch Danny (one of the students), am I good or bad?”
Geena, Ginger, and Chad: “Very good!”

Me: “Where is the fence?”
Sam: “It is sitting under the cat.”

Me: “What does a cat say?”
Lynn: “Meow, meow”
Me: “What does a cow say?”
Eddy: “Give me some hay!”

Me: “What does your father do?”
Kindergarten student: “My father is an office worker.”
Me: (to a different kindergartner) “What does your father do?”
Student: “My father drinks!”

Me: “What color is the bush?”
Harry: “Blue.”
Me: “No, not blue, Harry. It’s green.”
Harry: (grabs blue crayon and scribbles over bush) “No, blue.”

Sam:  “Teacher, weather is angry sunny today!”