I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s not always easy to resume teaching on Mondays or after a holiday, especially if the break was longer than usual. I normally start the first class by asking students what they’ve experienced since our last lesson. However, even though it’s probably one of the most natural ways of starting a genuine conversation, How was your weekend/ holiday? has become a somewhat hackneyed question over time. So I’m constantly on the lookout for new, creative ways of getting started after a longer break.
Let me digress a little now. The other day, I was about to start making lunch for my family, when I discovered that I can’t find the peeler. As this was not the first time such an unfortunate situation had occurred, I immediately suspected that I had unintentionally thrown the peeler out with the potato peels. I don’t know why, but what spontaneously sprang to mind was the phrase: “… that feeling when (… you discover that you probably threw the peeler out with the potato peels the last time you peeled potatoes.)”.
So, despite my bitter frustration, a new idea for a lesson activity instantly came into existence. As I have a Twitter as well as a Facebook account, I know that the phrase that feeling when is a real fad these days. When you search the Internet, you’ll see that it’s become a popular verbal meme for sharing funny, inspirational or awkward moments people have experienced. You can check this article about its origins.
Anyway, let’s have a look at some possible ways of exploiting this phenomenon in the classroom:
- There are loads of That Feeling quotes all around the Internet. There’s even a Twitter account of the same name. By the way, see my post on how to use quotes in an L2 classroom.
- It is often used as an abbreviation, i.e. TFW, which can either mean That Feeling When or That Feel When. This may come in handy if you want to play with some slang in the lesson.
- Although you can google loads of images of the meme,
- you can create your own one here.
Another meme similar to TFW is ‘I Know That Feel, Bro’. This is an Internet slang expression used to convey empathy towards (or agree with someone else’s) feeling or opinion. It may be fun to get your students to use this phrase as a reply to ‘that feeling when’.
Student A: That feeling when you discover that you have probably thrown the peeler out with the potato peels. Just imagine, I was about to start peeling potatoes when ….
Student B: I know that feel, bro. Something similar happened to me the other day. It wasn’t a peeler, though, it was scissors. I was about to ……
So at the beginning of the first lesson after holidays, you can ask your students to come up with TFW memes that would describe their experiences. It’s definitely good to show them a few examples before they start. Maybe you can create your own meme first. Something they will definitely relate to is:
That Feeling when you wake up and realize that it’s Monday.
You can also use a chain activity – Ss will rotate their memes and other students will add what comes to mind when they read them:
Student 1 (the original meme): That feeling when you mess up an important exam. >
Student 2 adds: That feeling when you mess up but you don’t really care. >
Student 3 adds: That feeling when you don’t care but your parents do. >
Anyway, try it and see what happens. 🙂