Monday, February 22, 2010

Miracle Worker I Am Not

In addition to teaching adult and baby classes at a language school, I also do private, in-house tutoring for individuals. I teach a pair of super-smart brothers, and an Italian woman who’s English is probably better than mine. And then there's Aleix. Sweet, awkward, slow Aleix.

Aleix is 14 years old and has been studying English since he was about six but it seems the language has just never clicked for him. His pronunciation is almost as good as most of my four year olds.

So I was really excited last week when his parents told me that he'd gotten back the first English exam he's taken since I started working with him and his grade was a big improvement over past tests. I was excited until this week, when his mother showed me the exam and I saw that his grade was a 10.5 out of 30. "What-uh, what were your grades before, Aleix?" I asked. "Umm, ford o fibe," he answered.

A big part of the problem is that the tests are all translation, and his spelling is horrible. The teacher gives them a sentence in Catalan and they write it in English- not really the best way to learn. One of the sentences he showed me that he'd translated read as follows (this is not exaggerated):

What hai cat mi her the peoples make funni at mi.

I can't speak or really read Catalan to see what the original phrase was, so it took us about seven minutes to realize that the sentence was:

When I cut my hair people made fun of me.

In another section he had to translate individual words. There was one we had trouble figuring out, he's spelled it:


Major points for anyone who figures it out before I tell you....

...still not sure?...


Clearly my work here is not done.


Tim said...

thadelas fundre

Anonymous said...


Beth said...

Ah, this is actually outrageously similar to my student's spelling. Although usually rather than trying they just say "Get this f-ing test the f- out of my f-ing face!!!" Darling children, really.