Lucrative lessons

If the lucrative business doesn't result in adequate compensation, there may be an altercation in my class.

No one goes into teaching for its lucrative potential but it cannot be denied that every day is rich with potential.  Potential for what?  Disaster, joy, teachers going postal, one never knows.  This week’s adventure in learning began with a vocabulary list.

I teach a high school English class for international students.  On Monday, I went over the vocabulary words for the week.  When we got to the word lucrative, the Arabic speaking “I’m not Jewish!” Israeli boy raised his hand.

“I want to share about lucrative.”


He has a YouTube business.  I’d never heard of YouTube businesses, but what do I know?  I feel savvy just knowing what YouTube is.  Anyway, this young man has been posting video on YouTube for about five years and was recently offered the opportunity to have ads posted on his pages.  When viewers click on the ads, he gets revenue.  At this point he had earned $100.  (This apparently works for blogs too.  Dear readers of this blog will note that my blog is ad-free, so you know that this is not a lucrative venture on my part.)

So, after the whole class gives a “wow” of appreciation, a Chinese student raises his hand.

“I want to share about lucrative, too.”

This young entrepreneur earns money back home by delivering people’s broken iPhones to the store for repairs.  He doesn’t repair anything himself.  He goes to their home, gets the phone and bicycles over to the shop, for which he gets a fee.  The class expresses another appreciative “wow.”

The next day, YouTube boy announces that he earned $50 the previous night and that one of the other Chinese boys in class is joining him in his business.  What?  Was Daniel going to post videos too?  Oh no.  He is employing Daniel to click on the ads on his YouTube posts.  So now the class is very interested and the Koreans are using more English skills than they ever have before.

The following day, YouTube boy comes to class with a written contract because a Korean boy wants to join in the business and he needs to make things “official.”  His employees are to spend up to an hour each night clicking on the ads for which they will be compensated (another of our vocabulary words this week).  Now deep in the recesses of my teacher brain is the thought that this is an authentic language experience and I should really work with him to fine tune the English in the document as an exercise in real-life writing.  But all I can think is that these goof-balls (and they really are) have started an international internet business in my English class.  And, they can’t really earn money doing this, can they?

A Chinese girl with impeccable written English but an absolute fear of speaking out loud and making a mistake raises her hand and asks, “Can I work in this business too?”  The  Nigerian slowly rolls his eyes (he does everything sloooooooowly) and says with his British accent, “I just don’t understand you people.”  He clearly does not have the entrepreneurial spirit of his classmates.

A peek at next week’s vocabulary reveals altercation, dissent, irate, and pauper.  I hope we don’t have an object lesson to illustrate them.  Creative writing would suit me just fine.  It could tie in with our lesson on elements of plot.  I even have a topic: “What will happen if Ron does not pay his employees?”

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