The Random Writings of Rachel: Questions Without End

Questions Without End

 First Day as an ESL Teacher
 September 1st, 2014

What has surprised me most about our students is how curious they are about Angel and I personally. They ask us endless questions about ourselves, which I sometimes encourage because it gets them speaking English, but not all of their questions get answered. Here's a few we've been asked:

"Is your husband very romantic?" No, but he's very funny

"Do you have a romantic love story?"

"How old are you?"

"How tall are you?"

"I think you are so beautiful, so why are you already married?"

"Can I have your phone number/Instagram/WeChat/QQ?" I invariably evade this one.

"Why are you so slim?"


"Do you speak Chinese?" I've told them if they want to speak to me in Chinese we can speak after or before class. During class, only English.

"How did you meet your husband?"

"Can you give me an English name?" Ahhh! Too much responsibility! On the other hand, I could name a bunch of awesome teenagers all of my most favorite names...
 

"Why do you write with your left hand?"

"Do all Americans write with their left hand?"

"Why do all Americans look the same to me?" Well, I've heard Americans say precisely the same thing about people from the continent of Asia...

"What is the most delicious food in America?" Mexican food, of course. Probably steak or chicken fajitas, if you want specifics.

"I heard that American students never bring their cellphones to school. Is this true?" It is definitely NOT true, but I'm not sure I'm supposed to tell you that, this sounds like the kind of thing another teacher might have said in order to help enforce no cellphones in class policies.

"Can you teach us some words in Spanish?"

{to Angel} "How are your teeth so white?" His teeth are rather noticeable.

"I think there are many other countries that will be interesting to you, so why did you come to China?"

{to Angel, again} "Why did your parents name you Angel?"

and "Do you feel embarrassed about your name?"  

"Are all Americans hating the people who have poor English? I met a person. Because of my poor English she laughed at me. And I am disappoint and I lose my courage to talk to Americans." If that doesn't break your heart I don't know what would.

38 comments:

  1. Awww...the last question is awful...especially after the smile I had on my face from the other questions. It's interesting how they notice left-handedness so quickly.

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  2. Too bad about the last one--it is so sad how people can discourage others who are trying to learn their language. I am so thankful for how helpful and tolerant Spanish speakers have been as I learned the language.

    The rest of the questions are pretty entertaining...loved the one about asking you to name them! You do have quite the opportunity there :D Sounds like a fun bunch of students to teach!

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  3. First of all this is one of the most interesting posts I've read in a LONG time. SEcond of all YES , that little girl/boy who no longer speaks English because someone made fun of them DOES break my heart.

    It must be strange to have these kids who want a personal connect with you. If they only knew you blogged!!

    LOVe that dress btw!

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  4. Personal questions are the same across the board no matter if you're an ESL teacher in another country, or a Junior High teacher. They love getting to know their teachers. It lets them connect to us and makes us seem cooler and more down-to-earth to them rather than looming know-it-all-determiner-of-the-grade monsters.

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  5. Awe that last question is really so sad, I know the feeling as one learning a new language and how discouraging certain people can be to your studies. Sounds like a busy first day!

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  6. love that picture of you! Yall are on such a fantastic adventure!

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  7. Funny enough, American students are the same way! With every class I've taught, the kids have asked me SO many personal questions that it's utterly ridiculous!
    Also, that last one makes me sad, but I am happy that you are there to help that child build that confidence again.

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  8. Oh so sad about the last one! Why would you laugh at someone trying to learn??

    The rest were awesome though! :D

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  9. haha at least they like you and they're intrigued and asking questions! The post COULD have been named "all the things my students threw at me on the first week of school" hahaha.

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  10. This is so cute! How great that they feel comfortable asking you questions (and good for you for avoiding ones that are a little too personal). That last question is so sad. I hope having you as a teacher helps them gain their confidence back!

    http://howtomakehome.blogspot.com

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  11. You look so official!! That is so sad to hear someone was made fun of for not speaking good English!
    Hope the classroom is off to a great start!

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  12. wow, so many questions. glad you are enjoying your job from the sound of it! That last question is so sad!

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  13. Aww, that last question. I hope s/he tries again sometime! I've definitely been guilty of laughing at my students because their mistakes were so cute! But then some of my students became my Mandarin tutors, so they got to experience listening to an adult sound like a child, too. Haha, my favorite questions from my students on the first day were "What do you like best about your body?" (I said my hair, student said her ass) and "Will you marry me?" They're such a funny mix of shy and open.

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  14. Love the left handedness question! The parents at the rehab centre inevitably want their kids to be right handed even though they some times have a right sided hemiplegia and I explain myself blue that left handedness is ok.

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  15. I would be worried if they weren't directing the question "Why did your parents name you Angel?" to Angel ;-)

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  16. I love their inquisitiveness! That last one was heartbreaking. Hopefully their courage and confidence grow so they can try again with someone who's not a jerk.

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  17. How interesting! I think it is so funny how different races can't notice differences in faces. I know I'm often the same way.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  18. Oh man that last one is devastating to hear ... Fun questions though, it's good that they're interested in getting to know you guys :) Your orange dress is so cute!! Love it! You're left handed too? Same here!!! Love it :) Take care and enjoy your new role Rachel! -Iva

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  19. All Americans look alike? Really? I've never thought that...

    That last question is so sad. For years, my dad wouldn't speak English because he didn't think he spoke well enough and it was hard on him, I think, but he's more confident now. Ugh, people can be so rude.

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  20. So many of these made me laugh... and then that last statement truly is so sad! =\ So many of your students obviously speak WAY better English than I can speak Chinese!

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  21. Hahaha, love the question about writing with your left hand!

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  22. Too funny! Keep sharing these. And name one of them Kate ;)

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  23. Oh, these are hilarious questions! I love it!

    Ashley B.
    Like No Other Fashion
    www.likenootherfashion.blogspot.com

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  24. I can resonate with many of these -- we live in Singapore and get many of the same questions! You have to be careful because they find Caucasian women very attractive -- and from watching TV shows they also think we are very loose and easy. Aw, that last question is too cute!

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  25. Aww that last question is sad. I've always found that students are so interested to know about my personal life. I always dedicate part of my first day just to letting the kids get to know more about me. I often do a true or false type quiz that for the most part they just have to completely guess on, but they really love it!

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  26. That last question hurt my heart :(. I'm so excited to read about your journey as an ESL teacher. I love that they're so inquisitive!

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  27. Oh that last one! But I can see why they would ask it. I myself have a hard time with people with thick accents or that don't speak great English, but I'm more embarrassed about MYSELF.

    Anyway, it sounds like you have a very inquisitive bunch!

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  28. OMG the last question is so sad. it is discouraging to have people laugh at you and English can be pretty hard to learn.

    Otherwise, it sounds like you will have a great time teaching them

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  29. That last one was so sad! Who would do that...... ?
    Also the one where they wanted you to teach them Spanish: ummmmm. Maybe they should sign up for Spanish then ;)

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  30. Oh those questions are so touching! I just love however are interested people are in other cultures - they seems so curious! That last one is heartbreaking though!

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  31. Wait so DO you speak Chinese?? How did you learn? I bet this is just the beginning of the fun questions- I hope you'll post another
    update soon!

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  32. Hey I nominated you for the leibster award. charlsparkle.blogspot.com

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  33. I love this list of questions, some are so funny and others serious and sad. I got my TESL certificate 10 years ago and never used it, maybe one day!

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  34. These questions are the greatest! This one, "I think you are so beautiful, so why are you already married?" cracked me up!

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  35. it's true. Mexican food is obviously the best American food!

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  36. Awww about the last question. I'm Filipino but I talk to Americans a lot because of my job.
    "I think you are so beautiful, so why are you already married?" - This is probably the best question! HAHA.
    And I have to agree, Asians especially Chinese/Koreans/Taiwanese -- they really look alike most of the time!

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