Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Do you know what a chick sexer is?"

My kids were, on the whole, terrible this week. I don’t know what their collective issue was. Perhaps they got together unbeknownst to me and created the first annual “Make Kimbelly Teacher’s Life Terrible Week.” As I think I’ve mentioned before, I am a terrible disciplinarian. As a result, I now have two classes who simply will not listen to me at all. I spend a lot of time imploring children, “Ok, please stop hitting each other....Ok, no, really, please stop...Ok, I’m serious get off the window ledge and stop hitting him....Ok, please get off your chair...No, really, please get off the window ledge...No, get off the window ledge and sit in your chair...Ok, actually, can you please put your head outside your jacket so you can see what we’re doing...No, really, please come out from the inside of your jacket and stop kicking each other.” It is not a pretty situation and at times I just get so exhausted by them not listening, particularly in terms of them talking ALL THE TIME! I have one class that just will not stop talking and they drive me insane. The problem is exacerbated by the language barrier, as it’s a lower level class, and disciplining them in English is much less effective and much easier for them to ignore.
    While they are so naughty sometimes, they also crack me up a lot. Kids are weird. Kids become extra weird when they’re attempting to communicate in a language they speak poorly or barely at all. This is an example of one of the finer moments of learning in one of my classes. The essay topic was “Write about the most amazing thing you have ever seen.” This was the result:

Dietary restrictions are not really a part of Korean culture like they are in the US, so people here often think that not eating meat or seafood is very strange and even unhealthy. People always ask me here, “You don’t eat meat or fish!? What do you eat...bread?” Bread is always the go to. There are apparently an appalling number of people who think that three foods exist in the world: meat, seafood, and bread.

Here’s another little gem for your reading pleasure. This is out of one of the lower level reading text books. Read the text.

This is the question page for that inexplicable reading. Take special note of question three.

In case it proves difficult to read, question three is as follows: "A ______ determines the gender of chickens.  a) chick sexer   b) chick lover   c) chick player"  I can just picture a bunch of stoned foreign English teachers here who decided they possessed the ability to read English at a 3rd grade level and therefore the ability to write and publish a series of textbooks. This was the result, and I now have to read this to groups of children with a straight face.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Riding the Short Bus

I can’t believe it’s December already! I didn’t go out tonight, so I’ll update everyone instead. My only real exciting news is that one of my coworkers and I have booked tickets to Beijing for New Year’s, so I’m quite excited about that. Other than that, my life is boring. I’ve started taking a pottery class which is fun. I’m doing it with the same coworker who I’m going to China with, and she’s an awesome girl. She stepped in a dead cat the other day on the way to the post office to mail our visa applications. I would say stepped on a dead cat, but really it was just sort of a flat wad of cat in the middle of the road, so it was more of an in a dead cat moment than an on a dead cat moment.

That’s really all that’s new with me. I’ve been keeping track of some of the better moments with my children though.

This one requires a little bit of background. The kids come to English Academy in a “bus” which is really just a large van. It’s very similar to the vans which transport convicts from the prisons to the sides of highways to collect trash or the vans out of which child molesters offer candy to children outside schoolyards or the van into which Buffalo Bill stuffs the girl he’s going to kill in Silence of the Lambs. You get the picture. Anyway, the kids have a speaking section on their monthly test. A portion of Harry’s test went like this:

Me: “Ok, number 7, ‘What’s the best way to learn English?’”
Harry: [long silence]..... [joyful childish light appears in his eyes] “Ride the short bus!”

Yes, Harry, many of you belong on the short bus, but unfortunately the special ed method of learning English really isn’t working for you or your peers.

A group of the younger kids saw the cover of a book about Martin Luther King Jr. and all started yelling, “Obama! Obama!” No, children, not all black people in the US are Obama.

Kids aren’t supposed to chew gum in class, but I think that’s a little silly. If they’re not chewing with their mouths open like a herd of disgusting cows, I don’t really care about it. One of the children from my class from hell, eager to tattle on another child in the class from hell, stands up in his desk, points to a kid on the other side of the room and yells, “Teacher! Colin’s chewing cum! He’s chewing cum!”

And on that lovely note, I’m off to bed.