n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Monday, April 17, 2006

ahhhhhhhhh, the peasants

Since I'm a little tipsy on a night before I have to get up early and be a TA, I have the following question: why does this school use the acronym "EIS" instead of "ESL"? I mean, really, is there a distinction worthy of being made between "English for International Students" and "English as a Second Language"? Sometime SAIC is just a little silly. I can't help but wonder if they changed the acronym to mask the fact that they don't always hire trained ESL teachers to teach the classes?

Anyhow, I've been having such good gloriousness with the EIS students... they make up 90% of the kids that I work with at the Learning Center... that I thought I'd share.

Most of the students who are coming to see me are from one particular class, and I've been getting the feeling lately that ol' B, who teaches the class, is on low ebb for what she wants to read and accomplish. Lately her topics have been: describe your favorite place as a child, describe your most feared creature, and now, my favorite, describe your ideal mate and discuss whether you'd use a love potion if s/he isn't interested in you.

I've been getting a real kick out of it. Sometimes I even feel like I'm communicating with Ms. B via helping out with her students. But here are some of my favorite EIS moments, if you will.

*One student's most feared animal turned out to be the peasants lining the city streets, clustering in mobs and swarming at people for crumbs. These horrible peasants shit on statues, and make loud noises all night. Not to mention how when they lift their wings, hoards of maggotty lice drop down from their feathers. (It took me a few minutes, but peasants = pheasants = bad translation for pigeons).

*Another student described her dealer man.

*My favorite student (yes, tutors are allowed their favorites) said she "had no illusions about finding an ideal man," but nevertheless wants "an artist, preferably an architect or director of films who shares her artistic sensibility," but "isn't too easy to get because that's boring." It also so happened that her most feared creature is the butterfly. This is because their flying is so erratic that it's difficult to get out of their way. flutterflutter.

*Earlier in the semester a student, writing for an Art History class, showed me her draft about the famous Chinese Qin terra-cotta worriers. Apparently the worriers were found under the soil lined up in rows facing away from the divine King represented in the center. I think they were busy worrying.

*Oh, by the way, the favorite spot for 75% of the students will be: the backyard. It's near-inevitable. Although, I had one student who's favorite spot was under a desk near the trashcan.

That's it for right now, but I have to say, sometimes working with international students is enough to get me thinking about teaching ESL. Most of them don't seem to mind when I go into fits of giggles, just as long as I help them out in the long run and of course, become their silly-butchy-giggly American friend.

On a related note, I just recently had my astrological chart read for the first time. A new friend volunteered to do the job at an international dinner gathering of four (which ended up with a brown rubbery dildo that I couldn't quite bring myself to look at as its frontispiece, set right smack down in the middle of our dinner plates...probably another story). Here's the shocking revelation: my "gift" star is in the house of family, and my "problem" star is in the house of relationships. When I said "shit" to the latter, the chart-reader was quick to assure me that although it meant difficulty, it could be positive because anybody I worked through things with could provide richness of relationship. (sss-sss-sss. that was a giggle). Also of note: I am a born traveler, have healthier relationships & friendships with international folks, have the sign of "healing" associated with school/teaching, and my primary concerns and questions in this life have to do with questions about the meaning of life, metamorphosis, and Being. hmmmm... I feel the peasants surrounding me. Must go now.
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