Out of three years and hundreds of students, I can count on my hand the number of students that I really dreaded seeing every day. They’re a certain type: age 17-23, think they’re absolutely too good for everyone, and forced to attend English by their parents. Luckily, I’ve avoided these kinds of students for the most part. With even more luck, I usually manage to have a good time with my classes. I may not always like my job, but I like my students and (I think) they like me.
One of my favorite parts of teaching English is hearing hilarious mistakes. As someone who says approximately 5000 stupid things in Russian every day, it’s refreshing to remember that other people are in the same boat as me. It’s not a malicious thing at all and half they time they don’t even understand why what they’re saying is funny. I just make a small correction and laugh myself silly inside my head.
Oh, and thank Lady of the Cakes for this stellar idea!
Here are some of my favorite English slip-ups:
“It’s your uncle’s husband.”
“Um, my gay uncle?”
On thinking before speaking: “I need to connect my brain to my teeth.”
On finding a wounded bird as a child: “I really, really wanted to kill it in my room!” (Said very enthusiastically. The rest of the class reacted in horror until we realized she meant “keep”.)
Problems with Phrasal Verbs
A quick grammar refresher. Phrasal verb= verb+preposition to form a different meaning. For example: put off (to delay — no connection with put or off). These mistakes are a little trickier since adding one little preposition seems SO INNOCENT. And usually student’s don’t get the double meaning of the phrases anyway. Which is good since most of them are super awkward.
Present continuous grossness: “I am throwing up the ball.”
A boy’s essay about the weekend with his friend: “I came onto him at the house.”
Remarking on his weekend: “Yeah, I came out to my friends last night.”
Rather than share my own stupid language failings, let me hear yours! What’s the dumbest thing you’ve said in a foreign language? Or, if you’re an ESL teacher, share what hilarious things your students say!