Monday, January 18, 2010 

After 3 weeks of intensive English emersion lessons, 1 am bed times,  6 am lesson planning, and 3 pm naps became my normative routine. So it was with bitter-sweet sentiment that my role as "ESL teacher" ended this past friday. On my last day of classes I woke up at a total loss for what to do on this momentous day! Then I received a piece of extraordinary advice. Carlos suggested, "Have you done comedy routines yet?"

"BRILLIANT!" I thought. 

I instructed my class to get into groups of 3. Once in their teams they had to write jokes in English and I told them to write several because their task was to make me and the other students laugh. I told the other students to be unyielding judges! Don't let even a smirk slip unless truly deserved!  In the first five minutes I received a lot of doubtful, "this is hard, I can't do this" pleas whichI squashed immediately by telling them, "I wouldn't have assigned it if I didn't know you could do this!" The truth was, their apprehension made me question whether I was pushing them past their level. But when the groups announced they were ready, my doubt subsided and one by one I found myself howling with laughter. Most groups decided to perform short comedy sketches. One group set up 3 benches in a row. Then they called on a volunteer and promptly blindfolded him. They led him to the first bench, had him feel out his bearings and said, "You must jump over these 3 benches." The volunteer gasped in desperation, but the roaring audience gave him momentum to proceed. What the poor blindfolded kid didn't know was the team had removed all the benches from his path and so he jumped high with fear driven determination prancing about the empty floor like a ballerina. I was in tears! 

Several of my students thanked me for the lessons and others asked if they could reserve me as tutor for the school year. I was both proud and extremely relieved.