June 4, 2013 by Willy Cardoso
While everyone seems comfortable in the lock-step chain of activities so far presented in the lesson, the student with arms crossed, Marco, starts the exercise as soon as he can identify to which exercise the teacher is giving the directions. Surprisingly, or not, Marco finishes filling the gaps of ten decontextualised sentences someone once wrote in Oxford only a few seconds after the teacher finishes explaining what the twelve students in the class are supposed to do.
Marco starts looking at his colleague and shyly leans toward him as if seeking some form of communication. When without saying a word he finds the attention he was seeking, he… doesn’t say a word.
His colleague, Igor, asks “Did you finish?”; to which Marco replies very slowly, enunciating very clearly, as if trying to make his colleague notice each word:
I have just finished.
Igor: Just or already?
Igor: Already. (slightly leaning his head forward, as if to show this is the correct form)
Igor: No, already. (repeating the same head movement)
Marco: I’ve just done.
Igor: No. Already done.
Marco looks a bit confused now, he frowns as he mulls over the impasse.
Igor: I have already done or I have just done?
They both think and cannot conclude. Marco looks at the teacher twice, but the teacher is not looking at him, so he doesn’t say anything.
‘Just is for 5 minutes ago’, continues Igor.
In a helpless look Marco shrugs and says ‘Okay’.
He sighs… and after some seconds he yawns.
The teacher now calls everyone to start checking the answers… to an exercise about the second conditional.