Wednesday, January 21, 2009

student / teacher

I am taking Cantonese classes - tutoring sessions in the mall's coffee shop. Two hours each time, while I'm trying to concentrate on hearing the difference between high level and mid level to high slanted tones.

"High level. Mid to very high. Mid to not so high." Etc. Etc.

I don't think I'm an amazing student or anything, but I do think I try hard.
I do my homework, I've made flashcards, and I try to stay awake for my tutor as we go over the words yet again. And more importantly, I've gotten to like the sound of Cantonese.
But still, my tutor never seems very happy with my progress - and I feel like a lazy American person.

I do have an appreciation for my tutor as I've become one myself- I've started tutoring a Korean businessman who wants to improve conversational English. The challenge really is to keep up a conversation. After a bit of trial and error as he did not want to discuss Obama; politics; economics; the financial crisis; Korean beef; hobbies - meh; being in Hong Kong - well the food was good...

I found that what we could talk about was tv. Specifically, The Office, which he enjoyed but did not find that funny. So more specifically, the jokes from the Office - which I never realized, were actually pretty complicated.

How do you explain a double entendre? It made me feel like those high school days when the teacher laughed hysterically while reading Shakespeare plays, "Bite your thumb, get it?" "Explore a country, get it?" and the students would be sitting in sullen silence.
"Mmm... that's what she said? all right well, that's Michael Scott's way of .. uh. well. trying to put things in a context of a woman. For example... he says, I need two guys on this... that's what she said? haha? Get it?"
:sullen silence: