Thursday, September 24, 2009

psychoses as numerous as the stars above

sophomore girl's class:

The worst class is the worst not because the students behave like rabid, undisciplined puppies (that better describes your normal all boy's class), but because it's the EARLIEST class of the day.

I hate it.
Everyone hates it.
Most students straggle in in a semi-lucid state just at the bell, but for those that drop in earlier that's pretty much what they do - drop into their seats and collapse against the table in exhaustion.
Don't I know that feeling.

Anyway, my classroom tends to be on the dark side. And particularly in the morning.
Purely by choice.

As I myself wandered past a dimly lit table of 3 early girls one of them piped up looking at slouched over student beside her,
"She's crazy."
"That's OK. Me too." was my response which produced a grinning, "Ooh, crazy friends!"

Yay! I got me my first native friend!

sophomore boy's class:

Korea once again brings out my violent streak.

The first grade had already one all day test last week and much to my chagrin the students informed me that now Midterms were next week.
Gawd forbid anyone should bother to tell me anything important.
I've gotten to mostly relay on the kids for information these days.

So in this case what is easiest, or better put least painful for all, is to give them the option of doing English work or studying for the test. (This school is ALL about testing since it is specifically a college preparatory school.) Naturally, the boy's classes hardly ever do any work in the first place, but at least by giving them an 'option' I appear to retain some shred of control.

So study for test it was.

Mostly it went smoothly but even so I found myself forced to make the occasional gaggle of students stand against the wall or separate them into different tables.

Towards the end of class however I heard a very loud and stern (and in English no less!) "Pick it up!" coming from a lone boy at one table. I wandered over to find a pen on the floor which upon inquiry was apparently thrown by another boy at the table cattycorner to him.
Naturally, said culprit denied anything of the sort right down to the big wide-eyed innocent look.
I wasn't buying it but without proof I suggested "Well, just throw it back at him."
"No, no, I can't. He'll hit me."
"So hit him back!"
Usually I get an enthusiastic "Really!?!" but this one just shook his head.
"You want me to hit him? I'll hit him for you!"
I sincerely meant it, too. (I would only have used my fan though.)
Fortunately for our would-be culprit the bell rang and everyone fled in a manner all too reminiscent of a stampede from the room.

Later on though I realized with my experience in Asian psychology, there was a very good chance that boy would have viewed that punishment as a reward.
Probably better that I never got to punish him.

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

inner demons exposed


One of my particularly naughty junior boy's classes got an unexpected peek at what's lurking beneath the big-eyed, pig-tailed harmless 草食動物 looking exterior.
Unexpected from both ends as I hadn't meant to do it, it's just how these things happen.

A whole table was MIA.
An entire table!
That's 5 students just GONE.
I started offering suggestions, speculating as to where they had gone-
Are they sick?
Nurses rooms? Hospital?


Aliens? Abducted by ufo?


*low, throaty chuckle*

It just naturally arose in response to one table's suggestion back to me.
I didn't actually realize it until the front tables that heard it started whispering about it.
I only heard bits and pieces of their comments but it was obvious they were duly taken aback.

With ducked heads and sidelong glances...
--did u hear?
--"maybe they are dead." *imitation of my "evil" chuckle*

Oh, well, that side of me was bound to rear its head sooner or later.

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

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Friday, September 18, 2009

The casual comment

Things I've only been forced to say (repeatedly) in what passes for a 'classroom' in Korea.
*all delivered in the typically flat 'foreign teacher' tone of voice we all develop after 3 months.*

1) “OK, if we can't sit, we can stand. Stand.
Sophomore boys class where several students were having trouble sitting in their seats without falling out.

2)“OK, if we shut up for 5 minutes we can watch one of the mini movies...
Again, sophomore boys class.
Even the lure of mindless movie watching didn't keep them quiet for more than 10 seconds.

3)“Why are you sitting on the floor?
Particularly rowdy sophomore girls class.
From personal experience I know that if you even walk across the floor one time in socks the bottoms will be black. I can't imagine why anyone would ever sit on it.

4)“Well, that's probably because you weren't listening.” *smilesmile*
Probably the most often repeated.
Said in response to the just as often repetitve- “Teacher, I don't understand.” I only ask for five minutes, maybe ten TOPS, to explain things. But seriously, they talk the WHOLE time from the time they enter to the time they leave.

5)“No killing, please.
Whether it's punishment or play, both children and adults are very physical here.

6)“No food fights, please.
Only in the boys classes naturally.
When it comes to someone eating snacks, you'd think they were never fed.

7)“Did you hit him back? You can hit him back. It's OK.
I remember my mother telling the story of how she gave this bit of advice to Renee (or was it Diane) in elementary school after said child reported that some student had hit her. So that's my response to the occasional cry of “Teacher, he hit me!!”

From the other end, somewhat quirky things I've had said to me:

Inevitably, if I take too long to tell them where I want to go, taxi drivers automatically assume I am a college student that is looking to go to the local elitest campus. Apparently that is because...

You look like you are 14!
As the director of Posco Education Foundation laughingly informed me upon seeing my picture.
Personally, I really think 14 is pushing it, but after seeing some of the college students, I can see why the taxi drivers might assume I belong on campus. They do look really old.

Teacher, every day is special clothes!
As opposed to the typical jeans-wearing foreigner, my penchant for skirts - particularly LONG skirts - is infamous. Frankly I can count the number of times I've worn pants while I'm here on one hand and have fingers left over. And those times were only because all my skirts were in the laundry basket.
Some things never change.

Teacher, you dress like a girl!
That goes without saying but in this case their meaning was as in a school student girl. Between the swirly layered skirts and pigtail braids, I can see where that comment might arise from.

How old are you?
No, you're not!
" ... "
Up to this point, I've gotten plenty of disbelieving looks upon revealing my age, but this is the second time I've been outright countered.

And the best one to date...

Sophmore girls class:
“She needs to go home.”
Followed by a paniced, flustered waving of hands. Apparently in order to get the brain gears moving.
The frustrated internal struggle for words was clearly stamped on her face.
The radar switches on and I look all over. I have NEVER seen as many nosebleeds as I have with Korean children. I'm pretty sure it has to do with the physical structure of the nose in the mongoloid race.
“No. No. One month blood.... Monthly blood.”

I have to say I thought this was a very ingenious way to get the idea across when they did not have the actual word for it nor any experience in explaining it in English before. All the previous teachers that they encountered were male and hell would surely freeze over first before they mentioned something like this to one of them.

It should be noted that the next time this event occurred, they were able to explain it clearly and precisely. Someone had consulted the native Korean-English teacher for the right word.

Cheers! (^_-)-☆

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