Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Today, we talked about using participles to express emotion in class. Students had to model sentences of the form "when [something], I was/became/got [participle]" and "I am [participle] by [something]." One of the students tried "I am amused by the Great Wall." My sense is that she wasn't trying to slyly criticize Chinese nationalism by trivializing its most visible symbol, so I told her that usage of "amused" was incorrect.

Two other students turned their participles into a short story, which they happily shared with the class:
Student 1: I have a new girlfriend. She is very beautiful, and I like her very much, so I am very pumped.
Student 2: But last week, she was my girlfriend, so when I heard she had a new boyfriend I got drunk on beer.
I was very proud after they shared this story, because it is clear that I have taught them valuable lessons about the uses of both participles and alcohol. I am having a deep impact on the lives of children.

By the by, I have to look at my gmail spam folder much more carefully now than I used to, because emails with the subject lines "where we will meet?", "looking 4 a MASTER", and "do you want to love me" could all plausibly be from my students. I also got a spam email today with the subject "Send your satellite inside her." This is by far the least sexy thing I've heard all day, which is surprising if you consider that I've spent my whole day teaching non-native English speakers about participles.