Vices we love: Stereotypes to make your lives easier

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stereotypes to make your lives easier

I am often asked: "Asiatown, will you please read and abide by the terms of the restraining order?" (No.) The second query, and one almost as frequent, is: "Asiatown, what are XXX students like?" (I don't know- can I teach a porn class?) "No, I mean XXX nationality."

It is usually here that I go into my we're-all-individuals speech that makes the eyes of the audience glass over. (Assuming they weren't already.) So in order to make their lives easier, and mine more comfortable, I present to thee....

Stereotypes to make your lives easier:

-Koreans: I believe this blog has discussed South Korean students at length. In a nutshell, Korean students are still getting used to this thing called "non-Koreans" and it may well take them three or four generations to be able to resist the urge to stroke or pull out your armhair. (Whether they stroke it or pull it out depends, I suppose, on whatever you are into.) Expect a great deal of laughter that will call to mind the adage "Are they laughing at you or laughing with you?" In about one month, you too will learn the suicidally depressing answer.

-Chinese: Most of my students tended to be college-age or under and from Southern China. Unlike Koreans, they have gotten used to big noses. This is both good and bad- good, because you won't feel quite so much like the resident freak show and bad because they become bored at the drop of a hat- some have been known to sleep through class, a habit that rates a 10 on the annoyingness scale. As hard is it may be, resist your urge to commit axe-murder in class- that's what prep time is for. Also remember that the Chinese hail from an evil Communist country, but not so evil that we can't sell our lazy souls to them. The singular achievement of Communists throughout history has been to make man's lazy inner child an acceptable- nay, laudable- public persona.

-Polish: A worldly sort, assuming that the world is paved with gold, Polish students have one thing on their mind: Success. And by success, I mean marrying a rich man. If you are a MALE Polish student, you are out of luck on two counts as you are not likely to be a rich man, nor are you able to marry one. As such, male Polish students have developed a still-laudable and more achievable secondary goal: Alcoholism. A one-time Commie fiefdom, Poland has been assured for over half a century that all they need is to become more like us. And now they have, so keep your wallet surgically sewn to your body. How does this affect students? They will be pleasant to you (the rich foreigner), tolerant of your incompetent ways, and not terribly interested one way or another. A fine time will be had by all.

-Italians: Can you talk with you hands, laugh, shout and ever so often threaten to beat your students to a pulp? If so, Viva Italia! Perhaps the most talkative and agreeable bunch out there, Italians are at the distinct advantage of not NEEDING to learn English (and not really wanting to either). As such, they will spend a few non-too-ambitious hours in your agreeable company, teach you some good obscenities and feed you quality pasta. No wonder Italian schools think they can hire teachers for 900 Euros per month.

-French: Sure they get a bad rap, but that's only because of a colonialist past which led to modern-day French guilt, which in turn led to the uncontested immigration of millions of pissed off Muslims who scare the piss out of them- while, of course, still clinging to the notion that they are better than you. A quiet, some say aloof bunch, they perform competently and quietly and will, if you have some ability, throw the occassional and surprising compliment your way. A nice group if you have some clue as to how to teach, or, more importantly in EFL, some clue on how to pretend that you are teaching.

-Russians: My sample of Russian students is limited to three. One, Lolita, was a hot young thang who knew she was hot, flirted with me shamelessly and still managed to do some work in class. A ten in my book- and that's only on the academic scale. Contestant number two, Ivan, the latchkey kid, was a brilliant little fucker whose father probably perished in one of Putin's secret prisons (Ed. note- I didn't just write that) and was desperately seeking a male authority figure. A pleasant enough lad when under control. Bringing up the rear in every possible way, Richard, numero tres in my happy group was an unpleasant sort who, when not attempting to take his pants off in class, liked to give me the Hitler salute. I am sorry to say that I can't draw a properly stereotypical conclusion from these case studies except that Russian students seem to be hotties who know they are hotties, need father figures as Da is out drinking and beating and tend to do funny things with their forearms in hopes of getting a reaction.

Hope that helped.


Anonymous Guy Courchesne said...

Allow me to add Mexicans to your list. No group wil drive you crazier with how much they can forget no matter how often you drill them. But hey, it means you're never short class material. Just use the same plan you had yesterday.

Flirty, flirty are the girls, at least the business EFL ones. Hard to have a class go by without some innuendo.

"On time" is an absurd concept in Mexico. Traffic is the usual excuse, but I think the rocking comfort of the hammock is more to blame.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Adalmin said...

Why is your blog screwed up in FireFox?

5:33 AM  
Blogger asiatown77 said...

It's a Hungarian thing.

9:28 AM  
Blogger asiatown77 said...

I will soon discuss Slovakians.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Nightstudies said...


9:32 AM  

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