I recently started tutoring two female German high school students in English. Seeing as I have no experience in talking to teenagers or teaching English, this has been an interesting experience to say the least.
During our sessions, I discuss all kinds of things with the girls, from dream vacations to embarrassing school stories. Since we only speak English, they occasionally come across words for which they don’t know the English translation. So, after saying the German word, they will pause, waiting for me to say it in English before they continue with their story.
My German is good enough that this method works 99% of the time.
One day, as we were talking about boys (oooo la la), one of my students got caught up in telling me about a particular boy from her school.
“He can speak Russian and is just so cute. He is my… my… Schwamm!” she exclaimed. Or at least that is what I heard.
“Sponge? He’s your sponge?” I asked, quite confused.
“No! Not Schwamm, Schwarm!”
I still didn’t understand. Although I knew that Schwarm means “swarm” (as in a swarm of bees), it made no sense to me in this context.
“You know… I like him, and I go crazy whenever I see him!” she explained.
Aha! Suddenly I knew what she meant, and it made sense that I had never heard this word used before.
“Your crush?” I asked.
“YES! He’s my CRUSH!!”
I guess I’ve reached that point in my life where I am more likely to discuss sponges than crushes. At least I have these girls to teach me all the German teenage vocabulary I am missing out on!