Ever since I started teaching English, I've been struggling to find ways to get my students more excited about the English language. All too often, I find myself standing in front of a room full of blank and expressionless faces. Most of the students are very shy. I try to get them to communicate with me, but no one will respond. They just stare at me as though I'm from another planet.
So, one day I tried something different.
I thought, “Hey Wesley, if you want to get your students to respond to you, you need to show them more of your creative personality. You need to be more expressive and dynamic. Don't just rely on the English textbook all the time.”
I waited patiently for my chance to let my personality show and break away from using the English textbook. Finally, the blessed opportunity presented itself. I was teaching a unit on how to use more expressive language. I wanted to start simple, so I began by using examples directly from the English textbook.
For instance, instead of saying, “I WENT outside to catch the bus,” one could say, “I DASHED outside to catch the bus,” or “I RUSHED FRANTICALLY outside to catch the bus.”
To use another example, instead of saying, “The teacher LOOKED at the misbehaving students,” one could say, “The teacher GLANCED IMPATIENTLY at the misbehaving students,” or “The teacher GLARED ANGRILY at the misbehaving students.”
Eventually I came across the following sentence:
“I CRIED when I found out that my toy was broken.”
I thought to myself, “Alright Wesley, here is your chance to really shine. Here is your chance to break away from routine and show these students your creative side.” So I decided to take this particular example and go the extra mile to get my students to liven up. With all the creative energy I could muster, I told the class that instead of saying, “I CRIED when I found out that my toy was broken,” one could say, “I WEPT LOUDLY when I found out that my toy was broken,” or even, “I SOBBED ENDLESSLY when I found out that my toy was broken.”
But after detecting a mild weakness in my voice, I couldn't help feeling that these examples were still not expressive enough.
For God's sake, Wesley, step up to the fucking plate—PUSH YOURSELF!
So, from the bottom of my balls, I bellowed the following example for the class to use:
“I …. SCREAMED AND HOLLERED BITTERLY, AND MANY HIDEOUS NOISES DID I UTTER WHILE CURSING THE HEAVENS ABOVE AS SALTY TEARS OF INTENSE AGONY AND PIERCING SORROW SPEWED FORTH UNCONTROLLABLY FROM MY BLOODSHOT EYES, FORMING A MASSIVE WATERFALL OF PROFOUND SADNESS THAT POURED RAPIDLY AND RELENTLESSLY UPON THE FLOOR BELOW ME WITH SUCH MAGNITUDE AND FORCE THAT IT CREATED AN ENDLESS RIVER OF GRIEF AND CRUSHING DESPAIR…AND WITH MY OVERWHELMING CONTEMPT FOR ALL OF EXISTENCE, I HURLED MYSELF VIOLENTLY AGAINST A WALL AND FELL HELPLESSLY TO THE FLOOR, YES, THE VERY FLOOR THAT WAS SOAKED WITH MY WRETCHED AND ETERNAL WEEPING, AS TREMENDOUS GOBS OF SNOT ROLLED OUT OF MY NOSE AND FORMED A DISGUSTING PUDDLE OF MUCUS AND TEARS AROUND MY HEAD, CREATING A REPULSIVE STICKY MIXTURE THAT CAUSED MY HEAD TO BECOME PERMANENTLY STUCK TO THE FLOOR…AND WITH MY LAST OUNCE OF STRENGTH AND CONSCIOUSNESS, I DAMNED MY BITTER AND ROTTEN FATE… when I found out that my toy was broken.”
Sadly, my strategy to be more expressive did not work on my students. Instead of staring at me with blank and expressionless faces… now they don't even come to class.