Sunday, January 17, 2010

I Can Kiss Away the Pain

I apologize for leaving you on the hook regarding my plane ticket. I would like to clarify that I did, eventually, manage to buy a plane ticket. The Part 1 in the title was not a History-of-the-World-esque joke but rather a Millennium-Approaches-esque promise that there will be a second part, and it will be even gayer and somewhat preachier than the first.

This week, we taught our students about superheroes. This was mostly a chance for them to have some fun before our final exam next week, but it also involved their creating their own superheroes and arguing about who would win in a fight, i.e. actual English skills. To introduce that part of the lesson, I told my students that Americans like arguing about which superhero is the most powerful. I do not think that this is actually true, but I don't teach Oral Truth, I teach Oral English. I wouldn't want to deprive them of the opportunity to write a bestseller entitled "Lies My English Teacher Told Me", full of gems like "It's important to use the subjunctive mood properly" and "Americans don't really have strong opinions about Chairman Mao."

I introduced the lesson by having my students name all the superheroes that the could think of. Most classes did a pretty good job, though there was one class where the first three superheroes that the students shouted out were "the transformers", "vampires", and "Zorro". I will concede that Zorro is a proto-superhero of some kind, and that the transformers do have special powers and work together to save the world. About vampires I will concede nothing.

There was another class where a (male) student excitedly yelled, "The Hunk!" Close, close.

In the second half of class, the students created their own superheroes. Most of the guys had some version of the muscular swordsman-type, and most of the girls were either witches or normal-looking students who happened to have telepathy and laser eyes. My favorite was one student who wanted to be a skeleton. According to his worksheet, his weaknesses are "sunlight, emotion".

I think you all know what's coming: some of my students chose me as their superhero. Well, that sort of happened. One of my students wrote "Just like Jon" in the space where he was supposed to draw a picture of his superhero, except then he crossed out "Just like Jon" and drew a picture of a flower instead. I lost to a fucking flower. And it was the least menacing flower you've ever seen. It was, like, a daisy. And he didn't even change the superpowers. According to this kid, if I were a superhero I'd have exactly the same abilities as a magic flower, and, in the end, he'd rather be the flower.

Another student drew what looked like a picture of me on their sheet, but then in the weaknesses section said that the hero was "somewhat dull-witted." So I'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that his was not supposed to be me, since if it was supposed to be me, then she should have listed my real weaknesses (sunlight, emotion). Come to think of it, maybe that skeleton picture was actually a drawing of me.