A dialogue with my cleaning crew

So, I’ve mentioned before that at my small school, four of the 2nd grade boys come in to clean my office at the end of the day. They are low level in English, but they typically speak more English in this 15 minute period of time than they do in my entire 45-minute class with them.

Here’s what they came up with today:

All: “Hello! Hello! Hi!” (addressed to me and my two CTs – neither of whom were listening, but the boys persisted in boisterous greetings nonetheless)

Boy 1 to Boy 2: “Do you speak Eng-uh-lish-ee?”

Boy 2: “Yes, I do.”

Boy 3 (in Korean)“Isn’t it ‘Yes, I can’?”

Boy 1: “I go … trash-ee room!” —> I was particularly surprised by this boy, who is usually extremely quiet and seemingly shy in class. Turns out he does have the ability to formulate his own sentences!

Boy 4 (in Korean, sounding exasperated)“You’re going to throw out the trash?”

Boy 2: “Do you mind? Open … window?” —> Me: *mentally high fiving myself because “Do you mind” was the key expression from my last lesson with his class. And now he’s using it in context! YESSS! (I mean, yeah, the window was already open, but close enough!)*

Boy 3 (picking up a basketball which is randomly in our office)“Ba-suh-ket-ball?” *looking inquisitively in my direction for confirmation*

Me: “Yes, basketball.”

Boy 2:*mimicking swinging a baseball bat*

Me: “That’s baseball.”

A conversation ensued between them, the result of which was evidently that one of the boys had thought that a basketball was called a baseball.

Boy 1 (pointing at the boy who had been mistaken): “No brain.”

If I had 45 minutes with them in this type of setting, rather than in the classroom with the textbook planted in front of their noses, maybe we would make more progress in getting them to speak conversational English. At any rate, it encourages me that buried deep within them, they do have some small desire to make an effort.

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