The day after, I had a 3 hours lesson with this group from the unemployment agency. I felt more confident because they had been awesome students so far.
3. A better crowd: 2 middle-aged men, and 4 women of various age, all Swiss
“It’s our last lesson today, and after 3 months of intensive French, you are now advandced enough to make and understand jokes.” I started. “Being able to be funny in a second language is one of the highest achievements, and once you’ve reached that point, you are almost fluent.” I was not lying. It took me ages to develop the slightest sense of humour in English; and I was far from this level in German, as my experience with Heidi proved.
“So, today, I’d like you all to try to tell a joke, and then I will also tell you a joke.” The two men seemed excited about it and started thinking right away while the four women looked anxious:
“But I don’t know any jokes, even in Swiss-German”, one said. Another whined: “It is too hard, I don’t believe I’ve reached that level yet, and I am already bad at telling jokes in my native language.”
Ever wondered why women rarely make jokes? The are too insecure.
After a few minutes, the men were ready, and one of the women had looked up for a joke on her iphone. I am not sure whether they made me laugh a lot because their jokes were funny or because I liked them, but it was a lot of fun. I decided it was a good activity to be reused in the future. Then I told them my joke:
“What is yellow and invisible?”
They looked all focused; they wanted to show me that they could understand my joke. They kept thinking until a woman tried:
“A sunbeam?” I was quite impressed: “Smart answer,” I said, “but not the right one.”
“What is it then?” She asked and they all stared at me, waiting to be entertained. For the 3rd time this week, I made my banana joker face:
“This banana!” I said with a genuine grin; I knew they were going to laugh.
The whole group burst out laughing. GREAT SUCCESS! I have to admit that the two men were annoyingly laughing much harder than the women, giving a point to Andrew. They all got the joke though and thought it was funny. Eventually, they stopped laughing and their eyes were saying: “Cécile is so funny, she is the best teacher we’ll ever have!”. The banana joke allowed us to connect in a special way.
At the end of the lesson, when I did a little “goodbye and good luck” speach, I swear that some had teary eyes, while I had to start cleaning the whiteboard to avoid starting to cry. They were one of the best groups I’ve ever had.