Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dirty Dancing teaches English
I was so proud of my class during the Dirty Dancing Q & A lesson. It doesn't hurt to have celebrity guests like Eleanor Bergstein, the author and co-producer of Dirty Dancing, when you are teaching an intensive course and want to keep people interested, I tell you.

Eleanor said that the questions that they asked her about her film and about the musical of Dirty Dancing, which has just broken ticket sales records at the Teatro Nazionale in Milan, were more original than the ones that even professional journalists have asked her over the years. We really did our homework, so to speak. Our class is so united that students helped each other with pronunciation and were so respectful of one another. It was really beautiful for me to witness. There was one poignant moment where one of my students talked to Eleanor about the difficult period that Italy is facing, alluding to the number of unemployed people, and asked her for advice. Eleanor talked about the nature of change and why hope is so important and really lifted everyone's spirits.

 Afterwards, Eleanor let her picture be taken on what seemed like one thousand cell phones and then signed autorgraphs. They were all elated when they left.

 My favorite story from the class is about when my student Mario was a little boy on the train and he helped an American tourist get her suitcase down from the overhead rack. The tourist woman bent down and said "thank you" to him. He wanted to answer her in English so he said, "Very Much." Whenever we get stuck in class, we turn to each other now and say, "Very Much." Today they all invited me for pizza to celebrate new friendships when the class is over.

Take that, fancy gym.

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