If you’ve ever learned a foreign language, you know that some words in other languages sound like inappropriate or funny things in your native language. We giggle, we move on, or in the cases of us less mature people, we never move on. It just sits there at the back of our minds waiting for the chance to make it’s reappearance when we’re bored and need a laugh (or, in some cases, at inappropriate times).
For my students, it’s always the inappropriate times. In the middle of a lesson for example. The giggling is always the tip-off, followed by whispers, then out-right laughter. This is usually followed with me thinking, “I know I’m funny, but not THAT funny.”
The most recent occurrence of this inadvertent hilarity, was when I was reading a book to my class called “Squanto, the Pilgrims’ Friend.” Since Thanksgiving is quickly approaching in the US, I decided to teach a little bit about the first Thanksgiving and the friendship between some Native Americans and the Pilgrims. When I first read the title of the book, the tell-tale round of giggles, whispers, and laughter tipped me off to my faux pas. After a few minutes of this laughter and my apparent confusion, my co-teacher came to my rescue and told me that Sqaunto sounds like the Chinese for “bald man.” I thought it was pretty funny so I gave the students a couple minutes to get their giggles out, but to no avail. The whole rest of the class, whenever I read Squanto, the whole class burst into laughter again. It was funny, but not THAT funny!
Moral of the story: when kids think something’s funny, that’s all they’ll be thinking about for the next 40 minutes or so, so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!