The Day I Dropped the in Front of a Group of Japanese School Kids...
It was the summer of 2009 – 2010 and I was working as an English Language teacher at a private language school on the Gold Coast. Being summer time meant that it was Study Tour season, and I was selected to teach the classes as I had previously been a high school teacher and I also had experience with Study Tours.
To catch you up, a Study Tour is when a small group of students will come to Australia from another country, say Japan or China, for a short period of time: two, maybe three weeks. They will typically study English in the morning, and then go out for ‘activities’ in the afternoon: zoos, theme parks, shopping, or in the case of this story, a BBQ at the beach…
So I had a group of about a dozen or so Japanese high school kids, about fifteen years old. They were a really lovely bunch of kids and I’d had a really great time working with them. This particular day, the afternoon activity was to go down to the Broadwater and have a BBQ at the beach. The office ladies had been very helpful preparing all the food while I was teaching the students their morning lesson. We had the usual ingredients to do an ‘Aussie BBQ’ – cheap’n’nasty supermarket sausages, white bread, tomato sauce, onions, and a huge tray of ‘salad’: sliced tomato and torn ice berg lettuce leaves. And this tray was big: I had to hold both my arms out like a fork-lift in order to be able to carry it.
So off we set for our walk from the school to the Broadwater. I was walking upfront with their Japanese teacher who’d accompanied them to Australia and the students were quietly and politely walking along behind me. I was having a great conversation with the Japanese teacher when suddenly I felt like I’d been hit in the head with a ball-peen hammer. And that’s when it happened: ‘F#$%*&^$K!’
The tray of salad went all over the ground and I doubled-over, holding onto a street sign with one hand, and my head with the other. What was going on? Had I been shot in a drive-by? I knew Southport was a rough part of town, but really?
The only sound to cut through the ringing in my ears was the collective gasp from the Japanese teenagers as I dropped the almighty F-Bomb on their delicate, shy little ears. Even the teacher was horrified. I stood up slowly, straightening myself out, and apologising to them all. My gaze landed on the hand that I was using to hold myself up on the street sign. And then I saw the blood smeared along the pole. I removed my hand from my head and heard another collective gasp from the students before I saw all the blood in my hand. Then all I could hear was ‘Oh Teacher, you must go hospital. Right now. Hospital.’
But I couldn’t allow that to happen. I’d promised these kids a BBQ and that was what they were going to get! (I won’t get into how splitting my head open wouldn’t have been a good enough reason to cancel the afternoon as far as my boss was concerned!).
So I asked them for a hand full of napkins, pressed them to my head and asked one of the students to grab the tray of salad, or what was left of it, and we continued on our way.
We walked down to the park, across to the electric BBQs (which require a whole class of their own for proper use!) and set ourselves up there for the afternoon. I managed to cook the whole BBQ with my left hand, as my right was still holding the napkins against my head. Everyone had a great afternoon, ate as much as they possibly could, and then we all walked back to the school where their home-stay parents were picking them up.
The teacher and I carried the gear up into the school and were met by the Admin ladies. I said goodbye to the Japanese teacher, who left me there with the Admin ladies. When they asked me why I was holding my head, I just couldn’t help myself…
“I was down at the park with the students when some bogans came up and started carrying on about f-ing asians and all that crap. I tried to talk to them and ask them not to speak to the kids like that when one of them hit me with his beer bottle.” I removed my hand from my head and showed them the cut. Once again, a collective gasp and one of them actually started reaching for her phone saying she was going to call the Police. I couldn’t control myself anymore and I burst out laughing. I explained the true story and they were amazed that I’d persevered with the BBQ.
It was only at this point that I was actually able to go to the bathroom and check out the damage myself. I’d done quite a good job: I had a cut on my eyebrow above my right eye which was by now nicely bruised and swollen. Fortunately it didn’t need stitching, and by now, some three hours later, the bleeding had stopped. I jumped in the car and drove, very carefully, home.
My Dad was staying with us for a few days, and I tried my bogan story out on him, but he didn’t buy it: he can always see through my stories!
At the end of the week the students left and handed in their review forms. All of them had written that the highlight of the trip had been the BBQ and that they really appreciated that I had put it on despite splitting my head open. By walking into a street sign… Thankfully they didn’t mention the F-Bomb – my ever-understanding boss wouldn’t have been happy with that, regardless of the circumstance!
So, what issues have you had to overcome to deliver a great BBQ? Let me know in the comments below.