Student Assignment

Iago and Othello; Yin and Yang
Iago and Othello; Yin and Yang

As I mentioned, one of my reasons for cleaning out the office was that two classes of landed immigrant ESL students were coming for a visit. These are students of the Canadian Language Instruction for New Immigrants (LINC) program and I teach one of the classes.

I was pretty nervous about their visit. I knew they may have very different priorities at their houses. For example, many of them are probably clean and tidy. Most of our students probably clean their floors at least once a month!

The tour went well and everyone was very polite about the mess.

This post is part of a writing assignment for my students. They must read it and give me some advice. The higher level students must offer to help! (They don’t really have to help, just practice offering.)

Dear Abby,

One day, the kids and I came home after being gone overnight. The three cats  and the 4 guppies (fish) had been left alone for 12 hours. When I opened the door, I thought Leanne must be home because I heard water running. I was surprised because she was not due back for a few hours.

I quickly realised that something was wrong because, in addition to the running water, I heard water splashing and a cat meowing. It was coming from the bathroom. I rushed into the house, through the living room and through the kitchen and opened the bathroom door. What I saw there did not make sense to me.

Othello, the black cat, was on the window sill meowing loudly for help. Across the room from him, the  tap was gushing water into the sink. The sink was overflowing all over the cabinet below. The floor was covered with water.


Othello, soaking wet himself, ran out of the room.

I turned off the water.

The kids and I tried to figure out what had happened.

I believe now that, first, Othello had entered the bathroom and closed the door behind him. Unable to get out, he had climbed onto the cabinet and stepped on the  tap handle which turned the water on. The drain in the sink must have been a little slow and the water overflowed the sink. As the water began to flood, Othello must have tried to escape out the closed window.

Poor Othello! We wrapped him in a towel and dried him off.

I have already told you that one of the problems with the bathroom is that water seeps through the floor into the basement below. I went downstairs to look and here is what I saw.

Back in the bathroom, after I mopped up the water from the floor, I noticed the water damage to the cabinet. It is an IKEA cabinet that is made out of particle board. As you might expect, it sucked up the water like a sponge.

Alright, I need your advice, students. Should I buy a new cabinet?

We like the sink. The cabinet still works. We are planning to renovate the bathroom soon. Replacing the cabinet would cost a little money and take some time. However, the cabinet is uglier than ever and it would be nice to have a new one. What do you think?

Soggy in the Bathroom

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James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

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