K matters

by Evans Yonson

Kids, despite their innocence, can be mischievous at times.

(This entry is part of the series, Teaching is fun. This forms part of the anecdotes and experiences that I have had as a teacher in Spain, in the Philippines, and anywhere else for that matter.)

barcelona – the english classes season started a few weeks ago. i have been fortunate enough to be hired by two language academies. one academy gave me two classes for upper intermediate students in the seaport of barcelona, where i had to travel 20 minutes by bus to get there. while, the other one gave me two classes for 12 year-old kids, which is along the muntaner street where i live now. i live in #54 and the academy is #1,674. that’s a difference of 1,620 houses/buildings/stores away from my place. so, again i have to take another 20 minute bus ride to get there.

i have four students in my wednesday class – a girl (paulina) and three boys (pol, ignasi, and oriol). last when i came in, oriol (pronounced as ooreeyol) was reading the class book. i was amazed by his enthusiasm because he was already taking down notes and translating some words from spanish to english. i gave them an exercise last time where they had to look for things in the photo that they don’t know how to say it in english.

They are always fun to be with.

it’s an hour and thirty minute class. paulina started writing down the terms. and so were the three boys. we were just talking about new words the whole time, when suddenly oriol asked what’s the part of the door where you put the key on and turn and open the door. and i said, door knob. so i went on asking for more words. but then i noticed him frowning so i approached him and asked what the problem was. he asked if he spelled door knob right. it was wrong, of course. he spelled it as D-O-O-R N-A-B.

so i went to the blackboard (yes, they are still using blackboard here in spain) and got a piece of chalk and the spelled the terms. D-O-O-R K-N-O-B.

in unison, my students loudly said, “DOOR. K. NOB.” and i asked them to repeat, in case i was mistaken. “DOOR. K. NOB.” i corrected them without showing what i was feeling inside. i couldn’t laugh. i was really amused by this pronunciation part of the class.

so, we went on. we came to the parts of the body. since they have already known and learned these parts, i wanted to review them. eyes. ears. nose. mouth. neck. arms. hands. fingers. body. trunk. waist. legs. ankles. feet. and i noticed that they jumped from legs to ankles without passing through the knee part. i asked them what were those called, pointing to my knees.

Yes! That part! Knee! Not kini!

in unison again, they shouted, ‘KINI!’i couldn’t contain myself anymore, so i faced the blackboard and let out a hearty laughter while writing the word knee on the blackboard.

si!! (yes), they said. ‘kini.’ and still pointing to their knees…..