Friday, August 08, 2008

Spin Doctors

As a high school teacher, I always watch the kids. You never know what the hell they're gonna do next, and they really keep you on your toes. Now lots of us have kids of our own, and fortunately, few things kids do tend to be as sinister or evil as we sometimes fear.

One thing I've noticed over the last few years is that my Asian students tend to spin pens in ways we gringos would never imagine. They're not always as elaborate as those below, but they're consistently well beyond my laughable abilities. I met a woman from Korea a few months ago and asked her about that. She took a pen from her bag, asked, "Do you mean like this?" and proceeded to spin her pen in ways that blew my mind.

"My advice," she said, "is just to forget all about it."

Which I did, for a while at least. It began to bother me that I'd never seen even one non-Asian do this. I've been teaching people from all over the world for over twenty years and I swear, I've seen every single stereotype refuted, and usually on a much-repeated basis. Could it be that you had to be from the Far East to twirl that pen? It bothered me a little.

Until a few weeks ago, actually, when a young woman from France (in my college class, no less) began twirling her pen in a style to rival anyone, thus restoring my faith in humanity, and shattering my last stereotype. If you don't teach ESL, you're likely not to have seen this, so check out the video below.

Have you seen this? Can you do this?

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