I love my job

In my 2nd grade class:

Have you heard about PSY?

No, what about him?

He has an ugly face.

Harsh.

And another installment in the Peach Saga…

Have you heard about Peach? … She is a pig.

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A: Have you heard about Princess Peach? B: No, what about her? A: She died. B: I’m sorry to hear that.

Poor Peach just can’t catch a break around here.

When I came up to the kid who was writing “She died,” his classmate looked at me, pointed to him and said “Psychopath.” Where does this vocabulary come from? These aren’t even my high levels.

In my 1st grade class:

Boy #1: “Teacher, he touched my butt!” (turning to classmate) “DON’T TOUCH MY BUTT!”

Boy #2: “Teacher, he (pointing to another classmate)… 두근두근 (du-geun du-geun, the Korean onomatopoeia for heartbeat, complete with thumping of fists over the heart area)… you! He like you!”

In my 2nd grade after-school class, while we were talking about giving advice – I told them to come up with a problem, write it down, then switch papers and give advice for their partner’s problem.

First I had this conversation:

Boy: “My friend has a problem.”

Me: “What kind of problem?” (expecting the usual – he’s sick, he has a lot of homework, he’s tired)

Him: “A brain problem.”

Then I read some of their worksheets:

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“I don’t have any problem.” “You have problem. Your problem is that you don’t know your problem.”

I laughed so hard.

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“I don’t want to go to Academy.” “Why don’t you tell your Academy teacher, ‘I am very sick’ or ‘I’m very genius.'”

If only it worked that way. (Academies, or hagwons, are the private learning centers where many kids spend their entire afternoons and sometimes evenings taking extra classes in English, math, music, etc. Needless to say, most of them loathe it.)

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“I want to marry Ji Chang Wook.” “I think you should give up 😦 But don’t worry. At future, you became a big star! (the president of Korea!) This is possable! 🙂 Then you will marry him. Hahahaha! 😀

Ji Chang-wook, a.k.a. Korean heartthrob du jour. Also, please note that this girl is the same one who told me a few weeks ago that Benedict Cumberbatch was The One. Ah, the fickleness of puberty-driven hormones.

I love these kids.

I was a bit frustrated today when I told my 1st graders to open their books to page 72 and heard a chorus of “샘, 했어요!” (Saem, haessoyo! = We already did it). Surprise! My co-teacher had taught my pages of the textbook without telling me, when he knew that was part of my lesson because I had two of the same classes with him on Monday. This left me with about 10 unplanned minutes of classtime. I gave them a quick impromptu extension on the activity they were already working on, and then ended up going from group to group and chatting with them. It wasn’t all about the lesson, but it was in English, so I’m okay with that.

I seem to have hit this sweet spot where the kids are a bit more comfortable with me and we have a good vibe and good rhythm for class. They know my style, I know what they do and don’t like about class. (They still have to do the parts they don’t like, such as textbook work and dialogue practice, but I understand their dread of it… and they sense that I understand, which gives them a little more motivation to push through. Or maybe it’s just the promise of a game after they finish the boring stuff. ^^)

Even though I still don’t know all their names, I know their personalities.

It has always been my absolute favorite thing about working with children – watching them bloom from closed-off, shy little buds into bright and beautiful flowers.

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