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! (^_-)-☆

Thanks again for stopping into my little corner of the 'net, and Happy Browsing!!

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