Last week on Wednesday my high school had practice exams all day so my classes were canceled–actually, my speaking tests were canceled.  They were postponed to today . . . oh god, the day after the 3:30am Korea vs. Nigeria game is NOT A GOOD DAY TO HAVE ANY KIND OF TESTS–or classes for that matter.

Anyways, the guys came into the classroom, one by one, for their speaking tests looking pretty ragged.  Baggy eyes, low energy, and a general lack of memory and concentration plagued nearly all of them.

Some of them, however, had some pretty funny and original answers.

I have four questions that I always ask as warm-ups for the guys.  The first question is “How are you today?” (“I’m fine, thank you, and you” is banned as an answer because I want to retain some semblance of sanity, and I’m sure if I had to endure 250 “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” responses I’d lose my mind!)  One kid replied, “I’m serious.” Lol . . .

Another guy, in response to “What’s your favorite book or movie?” said, “My favorite book is The “Prince of Machiavelli””  Wow . . . lol.  This guy is already prepping to become a politician or CEO (actually, is there a difference in Korea?).

And later on a kid said his favorite book was “Playboy” . . . ha.

One thing I noticed during this second series of speaking tests was that I failed to anticipate that some guys would remember and use “How about you?” and/or “And you?” during the test instead of saying the full question that was being tested.  Before the testing I give the guys a handout, and next to some of the listed questions and expressions that will be tested I give warnings and sometimes even outright ban certain types of responses or actions during the test (as you can see I did above with the “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” response).

A few of the lower language ability guys actually remembered this speaking strategy that I had taught them during a lesson that happened in the earlier part of the semester, and they tried using “And you?” any and every time they had to say something that I had already asked them (the test is an interview format) . . . I couldn’t let them get away with that because it would have screwed up my rubric and then totally messed up the proficiency test curve at the school.  Fortunately, the students doing this knew they were pretty much ‘pseudo-cheating’ by trying to avoid speaking the English content from the lessons that I was testing, and didn’t protest when I asked them to not use the two expressions.

Getting back to the funny stuff, another student had me nearly burst out laughing because he pretty much speaks English like this guy,

It took everything in me to keep the laughter under control, and I managed to finish the test without laughing or displaying the ginormous grin that kept trying to burst out all over my face from disturbing the kid doing the test—seriously, it was freaking hard, lol!!!

I’ll finish with another of my all time favorites.  During the test there is one question where I speak extremely fast and slur the words.  I discovered, however, that 99% of the guys in the first class I was testing were able to distinguish the exact words I was saying and respond with the correct answer.  NOW THAT IS SOMETHING TO TAKE NOTE OF! Especially for teachers who think their students don’t understand a lot of what they say to them.  Even the low level guys were able to follow me saying “Do you like to use ______?” (the blank was filled in from a list of vocab from the lessons) really really fast.

Since this particular test item was given a category on my test rubric I had to change what I was doing so that I could still test my students use of “Excuse me, could you say that again?” and/or “Sorry, I didn’t catch that.”  I decided to make the last part of the question “Do you like to use na-na-na?”  Which most of the guys found HIGHLY amusing, and so did I for that matter because their reactions were funny.  They knew what I was doing, and they knew I knew they knew what I was doing . . .

Anyways, the absolute hands down best reaction came from one kid, who when I said “”Do you like to use na-na-na?”, he proceeded to give me  a kick-ass Spock eyebrow lift . . . I’m guessing it was because he forgot for a second that he was being tested on his ability to use the correct response to something you don’t understand–but he did understand because he knew the “na na na” was nonsense . . .

Actually, it was more severe and questioning than what Spock is showing in the above photo, but you can use your imagination to visualize it, I think.

Well, time to pack up and go home.

J

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