Life in a second language learner’s classroom: Â
We are having a fund raiser spaghetti dinner at the school tonight.Â The teachers are to be the wait-staff.Â One of my students asked, “What’s wait-staff?”Â I said, “You know, cooks, waiters, dishwashers — the folks that do the work so all you have to do is sit and eat.”
“Dishwashers!”Â Jimmy exclaimed.Â “You’re going to wash paper plates!?”
Before I could answer Jake chimed in, “Gross!Â Â They’d better wash my plate or I’m not eating!”
The class cracked up laughing. Jake looked around in surprise.Â Jimmy pulled a sheet of paper from his notebook and waved it him.Â “Paper, Jake!Â The plate is going to be made of paper!”
Jake looked at me and demanded incredulously, “We have to eat off paper?” At this point his classmates were all but rolling on the floor laughing and heÂ was edging toward defensive.
I went to the cupboard and pulled out a paper plate.Â I handed it to Jake.Â He turned bright red and said, “Oh.”Â Then he exclaimed, “Well why didn’t somebody just say so?”
Jimmy put his face in his hands and muttered, “Oi vey!”