I have a habit in my adult classes where I like to give arbitrary points for them doing something I approve of. For example, the first student to open their textbook to the correct page gets “twenty points”. The student who forgot their textbook loses “eight thousand points”. Whoever gets up and erases the whiteboard for me wins “two points”. There is no rhyme or reason to it, the students are aware it’s complete nonsense and most laugh politely at my silliness.
The source of this point-giving is thanks to my being a Harry Potter fan. I don’t like to say I’m a major fan but the longer I live on this earth the more I realize how much it’s affected my life. As a result, inevitably toward the end of the school year, when a student does something that pleases me, I’ll say, “Ten points to Gryffindor!” and wait to see what the reaction is.
This year, I said this to a younger student, a twenty year old man with a dark complexion, dyed red hair, and glasses. The student brightened, puffed his chest out, and looked expectantly to his classmates.
“Did you hear that? I’m Harry Potter!” he announced.
Thus spurred the Great House Conundrum where everybody in this adult class wanted to know what Hogwarts House I’d place them in, whether they’d read the books or not.
I want you to imagine a group of ten or so Japanese people, a mix of men and women ranging from eighteen to forty-five years old, all crowding around a blonde foreigner demanding to know their House.
Conversations mostly went:
Student: What about me? What am I?
Me: You’re a Hufflepuff.
Student: Hufflepuff! I’m a… what’s a Hufflepuff?
It’s one of the little things in teaching that bring me joy, are these people who are so interested in even the dumbest things I have to offer them.