Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet Lex

(In which my attempted “teacher mode” was ambushed by an influx of childish inquiries.)
(Edit: This post was supposed to be posted yesterday. Thanks to the blackout.)

In this company, you are most likely to get the unexpected chance of running into some cool and not-so-cool people. And yesterday, I experienced both - which is just really timely since I was thinking of something to post.

So today, Esmeralda was absent because of another blast of abdominal cramps as the second day of her “magic day” ticks off. Ladies, you know what I mean. So I was given a substitute student – Jony, a young man of sixteen with a lanky frame and an innocent face. We were about to start the class when I receive another news.

“He won’t be having his make-up class today so you’ll be having a class with another student,” says the admin assistant.

“Who?” I asked.

She pointed to a boy with sunglasses carrying a paper bag.

I also met the boy’s guardian who appeared to be a stage mom by all definitions. She asked me my name with a tone that says “Are you sure you can handle this kid?” and “Don’t you think you look too young to work? Where are your parents?” at the same time. And so I responded with the coldest expression I can get from within me.


“Ree-jell?” she tried desperately, and looked up as if she’s trying to paint my face in her memory so she’ll know whom to rally against in case something terrible happened. Then, as though she realized she was late for a lunch date, she motioned us to hurry. I felt the tip of her finger on my back which made me make my steps bigger to get farther from her. “Duh! You are not supposed to boss me around!” I thought.

And so I tried to look cool in front of the new student. Besides, we’ll be sharing a room just for this day. I introduced myself. “I’m Rezzell.”

“Huh? Lee-jar?”

“No, Ree-zel.”

“Ahh.. What?”

From that moment, I knew I’m dealing with the Korean version of Dennis the Menace.

“It’s Rezzell. Nice to meet you.” I lend my hand to him which he took with a smile. What a firm handshake it was! And after a couple of seconds, I realized he was trying to break my metacarpals.

I smiled at him and he let go of my hands. Whew! It’s gonna be a long class!

“Okay, let’s start our class. I see that you were given a homework on – “



“How old are you?”

“I’m twenty two.”


“Why? Do I look thirty?”

“No.” and then he gave me this smile that says “I’m so cute. Am I not?”

When he opened his mouth again, I was bombarded with questions like Is this your first job? What’s your first job? The second? Why did you leave your previous jobs? I wasn’t expecting that I’ll be in a job interview.
“Okay. Let’s study - uhm… Your name is . . . ?”

He shook his head in utter disappointment.

“I’m sorry. What’s your name?”


“Oh. Pardon me for forgetting your name. I won’t forget it anymore. Never.”

“Why? Is there something special with my name?”

I smiled.

So right now, you have the idea that this boy has an above average speaking skills. Oh wait till you hear what else he wants to say. So the first hour was spent this way:

30% for “the class” which is composed of

· 10% = me asking questions

· 10% = Lex reading the answers

· 10% = Lex smiling

70% for “free talking” where

· 40% = Lex asking questions

· 30% = me trying to make sense of what’s happening

That’s it for the first hour. (Boxing ring bell)

So I learned that his guardian wants him to study and be given tons of homework. So that’s what I tried to do for the second hour.

“Okay, Lex. You have answered your homework incorrectly. You should have read the questions carefully. You see, that’s one of the reasons why students fail tests.”

“I know. If you don’t read the instructions, you might answer it the wrong way.”

“Right. Now why did this happen?”

“Because I don’t want to read.”

“Because . . . ?”

“I don’t like reading.”

“What an excuse! Ok, let’s check your other homework – “

“Teacher Lizard, - “

“- Rezzell.”

“But that’s so hard to pronounce!”

“But that’s my name! You wouldn’t want to be named after a reptile, would you?”

“Anyway, are you married?”

“No, do you think I’m old enough to get married?”

“I know you’re not. Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Why? You don’t like or they don’t like?”

I don’t like.”

“You’re lying. They don’t like, right?”


“Perhaps. But the fact that ‘I don’t like’ remains.”

“You think you’re pretty or very pretty?"


“Teacher Ayin says you’re cute.”

“That’s for her. It’s different for me.”

“You don’t want to be considered beautiful?”

“Who doesn’t? But, dear, the thing is, we have to be realistic. Can we study now?”

He shook his head and spoke in Korean.

“Hey! Why are you speaking in Korean?"

“The same reasons why you’re speaking in Filipino.”

“Am I speaking in Filipino now? You were actually the one who said ‘hay, naku’ a while ago.” to which he retorted “But why shouldn’t I speak in my language?”

I took a deep breath. “Because you are in an English classroom of an English academy and you are talking to your English teacher. Are those reasons enough?”


“And why?”


“You are officially getting into my nerves.” I said under my breath.

“Give me a hundred reasons why I shouldn’t speak Korean.”

“Hey, I should be the one giving orders!”


“Because I’m the teacher!”

“Ok. Forget it.”

So we went back to our lesson. I asked him to read the story and he asked me to help him – a paragraph for each of us. He chose me to read first which is better since the paragraphs that were assigned to him were longer.

And the bell rang. “Okay, let’s call it a day. Your homework will be – “

“Bye Teacher Lizard.” And he dashed out of the room to meet his friend. I ran after him to the corridors.