The other day my 10 year old gave me a tutorial on substitute teaching. i am in the lengthy and expensive process of trying to convince the NZ Ministry of Teaching that my CA teaching credential does indeed deem me fit to
substitute RELIEF teach within my children's school. It is going to cost me about $1000, and endless amounts of paperwork including police clearance from every country we've ever lived in. (Try getting an Arabic police report in English sent to NZ. That is a whole other story.) BUT the point is i figured once i complete THAT portion the teaching would be simple. Riley doesn't want either of us to be embarrassed by my behavior in her school so she gently reminded me i still haven't mastered the "English" language or culture here.
Let me just give you a few words i STILL slip up on.
WARNING: This post contains more colorful language than previous posts.
1. The first day in class when a teacher told the 8 year olds to make sure they all bring their "RUBBERS" to class tomorrow. Straight face she said it... in all seriousness. No context whatsoever for me to try to figure it out.
2. The day at school when "MUMS" (not MOMS) were talking about the school "GALA." Naturally, i get all excited and start daydreaming about the prospect of dressing up in formal attire and enjoying a lovely evening out. Quickly my dreaming turns to confusion when i am told how lucky we are that our class has the TOMBOLA booth and not the hot dog booth at the GALA...????? What?!
GALA= SCHOOL CARNIVAL with face painting and cotton candy on a Saturday afternoon.
TOMBOLA= i can't even begin to explain. That deserves a separate post.
3. i have known even before arriving that we should NOT use the word FANNY-PACK. FANNY is a word reserved for female anatomy. Luckily, i really have no use for this word anyways. However, there are moments of forgetfulness. Can you imagine the look on New Zealanders' faces when we are chasing Riley playfully around the beach telling her we are going to swat her "little fanny??"
4. (This is a new one for me. i like to keep up on the latest in education you know.) Riley told us we have been using the word "period" all wrong. "That is it. No discussion, period." Wrong use of the term she says. AND when i am teaching she explains i should not use that word to describe what comes at the end of a sentence. i am having a hard time following her at this point. So i ask for clarification. "You mean the little punctuation dot which ends each sentence that isn't a question mark or exclamation is NOT called a PERIOD??"
"Yes MUM, instead use the phrase "full stop."
i am absolutely sure her little 10 year old mind must be confused so i consult my kiwi friend who has spent time living in the States. (She is one of the few who doesn't laugh at my English As A Second Language Questions.) She verifies Riley is indeed correct. The end of a sentence is followed by a "full stop." What??
PERIOD= MONTHLY CYCLE FOR A WOMAN, or a SECTION OF CLASS TIME
"." = FULL STOP
5. Signs like this plastered all over school. Seriously... no context...just... MUFTI. Luckily someone threw me a bone and let me know this means kids don't have to wear their school uniforms that day.
6. i continually want to reprimand kids for their foul mouths. It is true kiwi kids in general feel free and comfortable using words in front of adults that most kids in the States would reserve only for the playground away from adult ears. However, i find myself wanting to stop them from commenting on others' "ass" or from using the F word when in fact they are keeping the language G rated.
COOL= SWEET AS
GOOFING AROUND = MUCKING AROUND
When Kyle first told me he was mucking around with his mates i wanted to wash his mouth out with soap. Say it out loud and tell me it doesn't sound dodgy??!
i could go on and on but i won't bore you. Let's just say quite often i am confused about what is being discussed and many times the person i am speaking to looks just as baffled. You should see the look on those dazed and confused little faces as i try to talk to Riley's friends. Honestly, they think i am speaking a completely different language.
KETCHUP= TOMATO SAUCE
SILVERWARE = CUTLERY
SNACK= MORNING TEA
Living in another culture is good. It keeps us humble and teaches us to not take ourselves too seriously. Trust me we have done a lot of laughing. Oh the mishaps and stories we could tell of our foolishness and the mistakes we have made even when we think we are all speaking the same language.
Culturally we are always a little off as well. We reserved a skating time at the local rink for Kyle's birthday. He thought roller blading would be a fun way to muck around with his mates. He invited his friends only to realize skating for boys is considered really lame here. None of his friends wanted to come and they couldn't understand why he would ever pick such a stupid place to have a party. Not lame as in... "We are in middle school and too cool for that" but lame as in "only GIRLS roller skate." Culture here equates skating with figure skating rather than hockey therefore very feminine. We obviously changed the venue.
The same month we discovered roller blading is for sissies we also learned costumed ONESIES for the whole family are
cool sweet as. Really! You can easily find Men, Womens' and Children's Onesies and it is perfectly acceptable to wear them in public when the weather is cool.