Second Milk?

milkEvery day in China is an adventure and I can honestly say I always learn something new from my students and this final week was no exception.

I have been busy creating exams,doing review classes and invigilating exams….however one class is here for the summer sessions to learn about the skills to pass the TOEFL exam.  For those  of you who are not familiar; this exam is required for foreign students to be allowed to come to America to study.   We offer this class among others during the summer months when the regular fall schedule has ended.   I am in charge of the speaking portion of this fluency exam.

The students we have are more creative than most Chinese students in the fact that they are aware of more things than they should e aware of at their tender age of 16 and 17…by chinese standards, of course.   As they live at the school for the entire summer, they are stuck with being in close proximity to each other every day.   Similar to Western youngsters they have their moments of pure genius and pure stupidity.  They are in various love/hate relationships with each other and that seems to change weekly. It is like a K-drama sometimes.

On this particular day, we were discussing new useful vocabulary.  Several words were mentioned and discussed to make sure they understood the words meaning.  I required random students to make sentences out of these word’s meaning.  As a teacher, we always feel that if they can use it in a sentence properly then they understand the true meaning of the word.

The word we were discussing at this moment in time was the word, “Additional”.  I explained clearly that this meant something extra or another one.  This seemed very clear and direct in my eyes.  However, as a teacher you need to see things from your students’ eyes.  When one persistent student offered to volunteer to give the meaning in a sentence, I quickly agreed to let him answer.  This student isn’t the most popular or well accepted student…(he tends to cry a lot…dont ask) ..but I wanted to give him a chance to prove himself in front of the class.

I was ready for the perfect sentence explaining the meaning of the word, additional.  They were not allowed to use a form of the word in the definition.

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

So, his young man said…“The married man wanted a change so get got a second milk.”  I was totally confused…but the rest of the class was laughing hilariously.   I calmed down the class telling them it was rude to laugh at his answer. I then turned to the student and asked him to explain his meaning.  He said to me…and I quote…“Second milk means another woman in chinese culture…”  Still confused and deep down I knew I  shouldn’t but I asked…”Why the phrase ,second milk?”…………………………………He said……..wait for it………wait for it………………“because she has the additional  or second set of boobs…..and they give milk, Did you know?”……………………the class busted into laughter again….and I had no words.

I have learned a lot during this class……

until next time….


9 thoughts on “Second Milk?

  1. I love it! Reminds me of learning ‘Konglish’ in Korea during my first few years of teaching. BTW, I’m gonna start a position in Jiaxing… next week (so soon!). I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you! I was very hesitant to take a position in China because I have a friend who was a track & field trainer during the Olympics and she had nothing good to say about her interactions with the ‘natives’ as an African-American. I had some uncomfortable moments in South Korea back in 2003, and even though I worked through them, I really was not looking forward to being voluntarily ostracized again. But, your blog makes me see reality and realize a lot of Americans see extremes way too extreme and that it won’t be so bad! I’m so excited to experience the Middle Kingdom and can honestly say I decided to take this job based on your accounts of your experience. Sure, things won’t be exactly the same, but I feel good knowing your background and your positive experiences! Xie Xie!

      1. It is very hard to keep up with the blogging at times. I haven’t blogged for quite sometimes.. I am a language teacher and with finals and the grading and looking for a summer job it can be stressful. We have to remember bloggers have lives too.

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