Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thirty-one-st & 42nd St.

Story time!

Last month I was teaching one of my sophomore conversation class and noticed that they had trouble saying different floors. We were talking about a department store and when I asked about something on the fifth floor, most of my students said "five floor." This isn't really surprising. I've noticed over the years that most of my students tell me dates with cardinal numbers rather than ordinal numbers (For example, "November One" vs. "November First"), but that isn't a huge barrier to communication. I'm gonna know what day they're talking about either way. Since I had a bit of extra time in the class, I decided to do a quick review of ordinal numbers, zooming in where their pronunciation needed a little assistance. It went something like this:





"Pors? May the Pors be with you... Remember it's an F, so your teeth sit on 
your bottom lip, like this: 
*show teeth-on-lip* Ffffffourth."


"Ok! That's closer... let's try fifth." 


"Your tongue ends up on your teeth like this: 
*I make a point of showing the proper mouth shape of thhhhh 
and end up looking like a chipmunk*"

*students laugh*


*fist pump* 

Things got fun when I started writing higher numbers on the board in no particular order. They handled 12th well, then 16th, but we hit a snag with 31st.

"So, what is this?" 

*confused faces*
"Three-one... Thirty-one-st" 

*I cover up the 3* 
"Remember what this is?"


*cover up the "st"* 
"And what is this?"

"Thirty one" 

"So, together it's..."



And then I drew 42nd on the board and 



*I do a quick times-step which sounds 
surprisingly good because of my high heels that click*

*blank faces*
*confused faces* 
*what-is-our-teacher-doing faces* 
[I get those faces from time to time]

"42nd... street... get it?" 

*more confused faces*

"It's a musical! Do you guys like musicals?"

(one guy in the back, unenthusiastically,) "Yes." 

"Ok, watch this!" 
*I quickly look up 42nd Street on youtube and 
that these feet can only dream of* 

"So what do you think?" 


"Do you like it?" 


"Do you like tap dancing?" 


"Oh... but you like musicals?" 


"But not tap dancing in musicals?" 


"...ok... so... back to your book..." 

Hehehe. I love this job. Where else can you (with the help of your ADHD tendencies) turn a pronunciation lesson into a musical theater lesson and make your students confused and uncomfortable at the same time? Ridiculous and delightful. Ahhh this life. 

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