storytelling teaching

A Woman Named Humble

A woman named Humble


Many of my English students adopt English names.

It’s not just for my class, it is for their entire business and professional identity.

In one particular corner of the world, the entire population seems to have perused the same outdated baby-naming book.

I have a lot of 30-year-old Herberts and Mildreds as students.

Some of them, however, choose random words for their names.

Today I had a woman named Humble in my class.

She probably saw a list of other virtue names such as Faith or Grace or Hope and assumed that Humble would work too.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that a humble person would never call herself humble.

Only a braggart would do that.

If she had asked for my opinion before she chose her name, I would have told her.

At this point, it’s none of my business.

I carried on with the class.

But I cringed whenever I said her name.

storytelling teaching

We Were Talking About Pets

We were talking about pets


Today in my ESL class, we were talking about pets.

One of the students mixed up his vocabulary.

He asked, “How do you play with your little uncle?”

He meant to say puppy instead of uncle.

And now I can’t get that disturbing image out of my mind.

lifestyle teaching

Awkward English Lesson

Awkward English Lesson

It was an awkward English lesson

My beginning online student told me, in halting language, that he had recently visited the United States.

He took a trip to San Diego.

And he took the opportunity to cross the border and visit Tijuana.

I asked him what he thought of Tijuana.

He paused for a moment, searching for the right word.



But of course.

What else would be said in an awkward English lesson?

I quickly changed the subject.