Last week I was sitting on my porch when an English colleague walked over with an exam and asked if he could ask me a few questions. I though, YES, finally! I am a native English speaker, the only one at the school, and in the past two years NONE of my colleagues have asked me for help or even to proofread their exams. And often their exams are rife with errors, which is really frustrating. This particular teacher’s English is quite strong, but I was still able to help him with a few doubts. One question read: “I would not be able to sleep if I _______ to bed right now” and the options were “go,” “had gone,” “went,” and “would go.” I told him it was “went” and he said, “yes that’s what I thought, but then I got confused because went is past tense, but the word ‘now’ indicates something happening in the present.” My completely unhelpful response was “hmmm, yes that is quite confusing…”
Turkey, the bird we eat at Thanksgiving, is called “peru” in Portuguese. With my current events group we were reading an article about the ambassador of Turkey (the country) returning to Libya. Whenever we read an article (written in Portuguese), we find it on my map (written in English) so that the students can get an idea of what they’re reading about. I asked my student to find Turkey on the map and he pointed to Peru, the country in South America. A few minutes of confusion and explanation followed.