One of my students is a skinny, slightly mustachioed Filipino boy with a penchant for sighing morosely, and a vaguely pessimistic outlook on life. He’s not unpopular as such, but I don’t know how easy he finds school life here as a foreigner.
For all that, he’s a nice boy who enjoys coming and talking to me in English and joking around a little, and I’m always pleased to see him around school.
However, for whatever reason, he can be a royal pain in the bum in English class. He’s probably terribly bored, and doesn’t want to be a swot in front of his classmates, but it translates into not doing the work, asking ridiculous questions and generally making more noise than he needs to.
Last week, I was teaching his class and I’d set them all to work on writing their own sentences using the grammar point of the day.
He called me over and said something I didn’t catch, so I assumed it was Japanese and asked him to repeat it.
I realised then why all the boys around him were watching surreptitiously.
“What? My car?” I did driving gestures.
“No! You’re hot!”
“My hat? I’m not wearing a hat!” Cue patting head and looking confused.
“No, no. You’re hot!”
“No, I’m okay, thanks. Actually I’m a little cold. Are you too hot?” Exaggerated cold gestures.
At this point he realised things weren’t going his way.
“No, that’s not the meaning! You’re. Hot.”
“Well, I’m a little cold today, that’s why I’m wearing this cardigan.” Indicating my warm, fuzzy cardigan.
By now the boys around him were snorting with suppressed laughter.
He gave it one final, brave attempt.
“Different meaning!! You. Are. Hot.”
“Nope, still cold. Winter is coming! What a shame! Did you finish your sentences yet?”
And as I turned to walk away, wearing the smug smile of one who has beaten a smartass eighth grader at his own game, I overheard one of his friends say what I roughly translated as:
“Nice one, bro.”