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Ate. Watched TV. Played video games. 0

Dear Bradshaw,

I like my job. Really I do. But it can be a pain in the pancreas sometimes, particularly when I teach young kids or early teens. Their English tends to be limited and their lives uneventful. As a consequence, they have little to contribute toward conversation and, often, because their parents are paying for the lessons, they also have minimal desire to learn English.

For this reason, I sometimes avoid using the textbook and try to get them talking, to deviate from our typical hour of English and to build up their confidence in speaking. As a result, our lessons usually go like this:

Me: How was your day?

Student: Fine.

Me: What did you do?

Student: Nothing.

Me: Nothing? You must have done something. Did you go to school?

Student: Yes.

Me: There you go. That’s something, right? How was it?

Student: Fine.

Me: Did you learn anything?

Student: No.

Me: Really? Nothing at all? What did you do in your science class?

Student: I don’t remember.

Me: It was three hours ago. How can you not remember?

Student: I don’t remember.

Me: Okay. Never mind. What did you do last Saturday?

Student: Nothing.

Me: You did nothing? On Saturday? Impossible! You ate. You watched TV. You played video games. Right?

Student: Yes.

Me: Yes, what? You played video games?

Student: Yes.

Me: Well, that’s something, isn’t it?

Student: Yes.

Me: So tell me about it.

Student: About what?

Me: About the video games.

Student: What video games?

Me: The video games you played.

Student: I don’t remember.

Me: What do you mean? You said you played video games. Which video games did you play?

Student: (silence)

Me: What’s your favorite video game?

Student: Space Race.

Me: Space Race! Great! So? How do you play Space Race?

Student: You race.

Me: Of course, you race. But how do you win?

Student: I don’t know.

Me: You don’t know?

Student: I don’t remember.

Me: Never mind. Open your book to page 44.

Anyway, Shaw, that’s the gist of it. Oh well, right? They’re kids, after all and, of course, I’m the one boring them to death.

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