A proud moment

So far, I communicate with my junior high school kids primarily through broken English and bits of Japanese outside of class. In most cases, it is a simple “Brandon-sensei! Herro!” followed by frantic waving and high-fiving. However, as I was sitting at my desk, I spotted a girl staring at me from outside the teacher’s room. When I waved to her, she did the standard Japanese-schoolgirl-giggle and pointed at my flash cards. I told her I was studying katakana and hiragana (two of the three syllabaries that make up the Japanese written language). This gave her enough courage to come in and write her name in hiragana. Well, after I pronounced (or most likely butchered) her name, she got really excited. She began writing something in English, thought for a second, crossed it out and slowly said:

“My fa…fav?…favorito singa….is….Chris Brown. My favorito…songu is…’Shorty Like Mine’.”

Not a memorized textbook line. No resorting to Japanese. This was the first original complete-sentenced English statement I’ve heard from any of my students, with some hip-hop vernacular to boot. I couldn’t be prouder.

Of course, this was offset an hour later while playing Jeopardy in one of my 9th grade classes. Responding to the question “How many letters are in the alphabet?” a boy quickly raised his hand, paused, furrowed his eyebrows, then gasped as realization dawned on him, and shouted



5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ko-te-ni on October 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I think your kid was on the right track — If you have 3 and 1/4 octopuses that’s 26 tentacles. So the answer is 26. He probably just didn’t know how to say this in English. I hope you gave him a gold star! And you get to play Jeopardy? Lucky!


  2. Posted by Lubzy Lubz on October 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    I assume that you and this Chris Brown fan are now best friends and that you go over to each other’s houses and exchange music, braid hair, and practice sumo. And if you don’t do this, there better be a good reason why not. Also, you should try to Flo-Rida trick on her, maybe she’ll believe you too.


  3. OCTOPUS! Epic.


  4. Posted by GBD on October 15, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Whoever knew you’d have so much in common with the youth of rural Japan? It’s a strange, strange world.

    P.S. I’m going to see your family in CA in a few weeks.


  5. Posted by Elio on November 18, 2008 at 10:06 pm


    thank you for bringing a lot of laughter into my life, brand-on.


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