Photo of the Day – James I

The first year I was in China I taught English at a private language institute.  It was not a great gig.  I worked predominately nights and weekends and most of that time was spent trying to teach overworked junior executives Business English, who, in most cases, would rather have been anywhere else.

Sometimes I got to teach kids and liked that quite a bit more.  For the most part they wanted to be there and I would laugh out loud about 10 days a class.  One of the most memorable of those kids was 10 year old James I.  Something of a prodigy, James was in an advanced class full of high school students preparing for college entrance exams. The night we met, he stood up and introduced himself as “James the First…”.  I asked him why James the First, and he explained, in perfect North American accented english, “It’s not that I am pretentious.  When I chose my name I was the only James in class.  Later, another boy came to the class and he decided he also wanted to be a James.  That’s when I became James the First.”  Well, that made sense of course.  I told him he may not be pretentious but that he certainly was precocious.  He replied, in a very serious tone too old for his years, “Yeah, I get that a lot.”  I laughed and asked him if he really knew what precocious meant.  He thought for a moment, then asked, “Well, wouldn’t it be something like being able to understand the word precocious, in English, at my age?” Yeah, that would be it…

Below is James, in the hat on the left, along with a classmate during a field trip in 2007.

James I - AKA James the First

James I – AKA James the First

I recently saw James and didn’t recognize him.  He was in the grocery store with his mother and had grown about 8 inches and his voice had changed.  He’s gone on to win many regional and national English competitions.

Three days in a row… careful what you ask for.  A good day here, got a lot done, I’m hearing from a lot of old friends and got to talk to my youngest, Nick.

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~ by Expatriate Games on February 6, 2010.

3 Responses to “Photo of the Day – James I”

  1. I love this story, you should write a book with stories like these. This one really put a smile on my face. It made me think of the movie “The King and I” I loved that movie.

  2. Sounds like a good day indeed.
    As a former kindergarden teacher I loved James story.

    And you know what, I could get used to your daily stories.

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