Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Being Outsmarted By My Seven Year Old Brazilian Student!


A few months ago I was teaching my seven year old student, a young kid with an exceptionally high level of English. So in the middle of an incredibly tense game of Connect 4 I noticed that he’d stopped focusing on the game, and was instead staring directly at me.  

“Andrew” he said thoughtfully, “why do you have a REALLY small head and a really BIG nose?”

A very sincere look embraced his usually smiley face. He was staring at me quite inquisitively, not blinking or looking away once; and it was then that I realised he wasn't joking around. This was a genuine question that

he wanted a genuine answer to.

“I don’t have a small head” I said with a defiant tone, which on reflection must have sounded more like I was trying to convince myself than it was correcting him.

“Oh Andrew, of course you do!” was his response, like I was a fool for even suggesting otherwise. At that I noticed a cheeky glint in his eye, he’d clearly just realised a new way to mock me. Unsurprisingly then, since this conversation he has gleefully brought up the size of my head at least a few times every class.

I don’t have a small head, I know this. When I asked my Mum, she told me I didn't!

I know I have a generously proportioned nose though. I remember once giving a class in Japan, when a 73 year old student interrupted me to ask if it was possible for me to kiss girls.

“But doesn't your nose get in the way?” he asked with a genuine desire to know about my kissing technique.

So with this kid we play Jenga in our classes too, alongside some pre-written questions that he needs to ask every time he pulls out a piece. On some of these pieces are question marks, so when he pulls these he can ask me anything he likes.

A recent picture of said head! I'm in the middle, and the two
either side of me were the friends featured in my last blog on Tom Jobim!

A few weeks ago this happened;

“I have a question” he said seconds after removing a piece, with a sinister smile then playing out across his lips.

Unfortunately, I knew what was coming but had to respect the pre-agreed rules of the game.

“Ok, what is it!?!” I asked hesitantly.

“Why is…..your head…….SOOOOOOOOOO small!”

At that he fell about laughing, appreciating his own joke to the point of almost hyperventilating. I sat there and waited it out.

When he’d eventually stopped, I told him not to talk about the size of my head anymore. “It’s not funny” I said, trying unsuccessfully to sound genuinely hurt.  I didn't hear anything more about it for the rest of the class though, “BINGO, that’s it!” I assumed! My head isn't about to be the butt of anymore jokes!”

Well the next week he mentioned the size of my head again….”but it’s SOOOOOOOO small” he teased. I was frustrated, so I said, in quite a matter-of-fact way, “look! If you don’t stop I’m going to tell your mother”.

Of course, I’m not going to say anything to his Mum. I mean, he is only seven, I’d look ridiculous!

“Tell her what?” he asked, with a deliberate theatrical pause. I could see that his eyes were already laughing at what he was about to say, and like am award winning comedian, he was just waiting for the moment to deliver his epic punch line.

“Are you going to tell my Mum that you have….a REALLY small head!?!”

Again, he then laughed hysterically whilst I sat there…getting my (not so large) head around the fact that I’d just been OWNED big time by a seven year old!

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