assisting and learning in natural science

On Saturday night I came home at 3am from one the nearby bars. A little drunk and wobbly, I shoved something from the fridge into my mouth (it did not taste good) and then managed to brush my teeth. I got into bed and a sudden curiosity drew me to a Wikipedia page on dry sclerophyll forests. It’s not something I’d usually do at this time, and probably not as shameful as other things that can be done in bed at 3am on a Saturday night.

Once a week I have a Natural Science class with the 2nd years (14-15 year olds) at my secondary school. I enjoy this class and find I am both learning and taking an interest in the material, covering anything from dry sclerophyll forests to the human nervous system. My role as a language assistant in Natural Science involves reading out loud, listening and correcting students’ pronunciation and walking around the class of 30 looking busy as they scribble away on their worksheets.

Today we had a class on reproduction. It went swell. I was reading out loud:

“…and then, the penis enters the vagina.”

I turn to my students and despite knowing what it means, only a few have growing smiles on their faces. Then it’s their turn to try. A girl reads:

“…and then the pen-iss enters the vahinaaah.”

Me: “No no, listen again. “…and then, the penis enters the VA-GI-NUH.”

Her: “…and then, the penis enters the vahinaaah.”

Me, smiling: “Yep, better.”

The greying, short stocky male teacher turns to me:

“So, so, how do you pronounce this word? Is it vahina?”

Me: “No. It’s VAGINA! …Vagina.”

And all I can imagine is my parents somehow watching me from Australia, crapping their pants with laughter.



  1. Several minutes later:
    – Ahh… yes yes! You do it like that… much better!

    And i was talking about the pronounciation of vagina.

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