What Student Notebooks Teach Us


Yesterday’s Back to School Post must still be stuck in my head because it slightly affected the my world today. I teach ESL to adults in the Toronto area.  These are not immigrants, but rather people who want/need to improve their English.  They aren’t like high school and middle school students, who need to do any back to school shopping….or do they?

You see, some of these adults arrive without pens or notebooks. Others have brought the remains of their high school equipment.  Some of my older students have liberated some of their children’s things.  Yes, that means a 50-year-old student could conceivably (and has) show up with a Barbie eraser and Little Mermaid Pencil case.  Add this to the fact that my students come from all over the world and what passes for high school cool or grade school cool in their countries is not the same as here.  While some of the stuff they have gotten their hands on is better than I could find here, some of it is definitely weirder.

While I might find it humorous, I also find it rather refreshing.

Today, I caught sight of one of my students’ notebooks. The only thing I could think of was that this was the definition of cute.  When she caught my eye, she immediately explained that she loved cats and was, indeed, a cat person.

Looking at it again, I wonder if this notebook is trying to be cute, looking for juxtaposition, or trying to teach us about tolerance and the need to defeat racism with love.

Also, I remember watching a vlog (video blog) shot in South Korea that used similar images of black and white cats to warm against North Korean spies.  If anyone is in South Korea, and these posters still exist,  maybe they could post some of these images.  They are quite interesting.

When I took the picture, I just thought it was cute, but then again, I have a black cat of my own.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, ESL, Korea, Korean, students, teaching, Toronto and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What Student Notebooks Teach Us

  1. One man’s cute is another’s suffocation (image-wise). Goes to show beauty (and cute?) are in the eyes of the beholder?

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