Exo

Diversity Comics, Year 2

This is Year 2 of teaching my students about Diversity in America.

My lesson originated from some Middle School students’ comments “Teacher. Black skin, not good.”

In Korea they are all about having porcelain skin. If a student has darker skin they often are teased “You African! You India! Black skin!”

Every time I hear this I am shocked because I view people of all  skin tones equally. I would  never even think darker skin= bad, because to me that is such a narrow, old school world view.

In a effort to expose my students to more diversity I talked about my friends at home and how they are all different from me in terms of languages, skin tone, religion, etc. Then we watched a Simpsons video called “Mypods and Boomsticks” which discusses how Homer believes Muslims to be terrorists until he learns the error of his ways.

Then I discussed my experience of living in Korea as a “FOREIGNER!” Everywhere I go, everything I do Koreans watch and observe me or try to interact with me. I don’t speak Korean fluently and I didn’t know much about Korean food or KPOP before I moved here. It  was and still is at times hard to live here.

With that in mind I created the following scenario:

Imagine you and your family move to a new country: Mexico.  You look different from most people. You can’t speak the language (Spanish). You don’t know what music the kids like. You don’t know the food they like to eat.

You meet a Mexican Boy or Girl who wants to learn more about Korea and you. What do you talk about? Korean food? K-Pop? Clothing? Make a comic discussing something about Korea.

Here are some of the best comics from this year

 

Note that a lot of the “Mexican” characters have blonde hair and blue eyes… I think they were using me as a model, despite the fact I’m not Mexican.

While I think that this lesson got some of the students thinking about how different things are in America, I think it would be better to have the students get a chance to interact with more diverse people.

In my city there aren’t a lot of people with darker skin. If the students see a person like that, they probably see them from afar and don’t get to actually interact with them.

I hope one day they can all go to America or another diverse country and experience diversity for themselves.

Linguistic Test

Dude, I’m like so blonde, riiiiight?

A while ago I posted about  Sarah Kay’s Ted Talk on Spoken Poetry.

It made me reflect on my own style of talking and how much it has been influenced by various factors probably one of the most important being I was born in California.

I spent most of my young life in California before moving to the East Coast. While I may have spent more time on the East Coast than I have lived in California, I still talk like a Californian.

Look I even got linguistic test results to prove it:

Linguistic Test

Linguistic Test

 

I remember when I first moved to the East Coast I thought to myself:  People here sound different than the people at home.

Then I all but forgot about it after being on the East Coast for many years. Then when I was in college I took an Alternate Reality Game class. While working on a group project I mentioned to my group members that I grew up in California.

A guy in my group said, “Oh! That makes sense.”

I asked, “What do you mean?”

“You sound like you are from there.”

I was curious. “Really? How do I sound like?”

Then he seemed to get a little flustered, like he didn’t want to say I sounded like a valley girl or something. He ended up saying something along the lines of “The way your voice rises and falls sometimes, it just sounds very Californian to me…”

Hmmm. Okay then.

I never found out if he meant “You sound like you’re from California” as a good or bad thing…..

Good or Bad?

Some of the most common Californian things I say are as follows:

I say “like” waaaay more than necessary:  “So I was like, I need some, like, space because I, like, feel stressed out by this, like, whole situation.”

I would be more than willing to scrap this part of my vocabulary which as I use as a filler word. Actually, I feel my time in Korea has cut down on me using this word, except in situations when I am excited and talking extremely fast to English native speakers.

I say “I know, riiiight?” whenever someone mentions something I agree with.

I say, “Totally!” and “Dude!” all the time. I have even said “DUDE” to my mom before  a couple of times which makes her irate: “I am not a DUDE!” Nope, definitely not. Not sure why I say it, but it just feels normal to say it to everyone.

Dudeee

Funny story: A older Korean man at my middle school dropped his keys as he was walking down the hallway. I noticed, picked them up and then since he was so far away from me and headed downstairs, I started saying “Hey! Dude! You dropped your keys”

Of course, he didn’t turn around; thankfully another Korean teacher yelled “Seonsangnim!” which means Teacher in Korean, and he turned right around.

Later I thought about how I called him “Dude” which, if he had understood me, would had annoyed him since “Dude” is not a respectful term of address. Korea is all about titles of respect.

Overall, I like that some people can identify me as being from California. It’s my homehomehome.

You can read and write Korean?? **GASP**

Something I encountered back home  in America which I wasn’t expecting to encounter is the fact that people here, my family included, seemed so surprised that I  can read and write Korean.

 

Wow! You can read Korean!?

Maybe it is the fact that they have little knowledge of the Korean language.

When I first moved to Korea knowing no Korean I thought it would take forever to learn how to read and write it.

And it did take me a while, more than some people who moved to Korea at the same time as me.

But to me it seems ridiculous to live in a country for 1 year and never learn how to read the native language or write basic sentences.

use your brain

I would compare my level of Korean to the level of English some immigrants to the USA have.

I know Survival Korean. I can understand a little Korean, I can read signs (even if I don’t always know what it means) , I can say essential sentences like “Where is the bathroom?” “This is delicious!” “I will meet my friends tonight to go shopping.” “Korean is hard!” “My head hurts.”

If I can’t fully get my point across in Korean, or the Koreans I am talking to can’t speak English too well, then I use hand gestures, body language or my trusty friend called Google Translate.

Actually, Google Translate sometimes does such a horrible job of translating, but it’s better than nothing when you are desperate.

Hahaha

According to an article I read, Korean is ranked as the 9th toughest language for a English speaker to learn. I would agree there are times I find Korean quite challenging in terms of pronunciation and also remembering when to speak politely and when you can speak normally to your friends.

But, what helps a great deal to learn Korean is that the writing system is really easy once you have memorized the characters. Also, the pronunciation of words is mostly phonetic, with some words trying to trick you here and there.

While I have taken various Korean classes and have studied with friends, colleagues and students, I know my Korean could be a lot better than it is now.

However, most Koreans, especially young people, want to speak English with me to practice their language skills. If I say something in Korean they will often answer in English assuming they don’t start giggling hysterically.

 

I can get by in Korea fairly easy knowing only a little Korean.

Definitely  my students liked me more  once I made an effort to speak  their language. They find it amusing the “foreigner” tries to speak their language.

I am not sure how much longer  I will live in Korea, but I am doubtful it will be forever. So while I am game to learn more Korean, I know that my ability might only go so far because learning  Korean is not my  #1 priority living in Korea.

Regardless where I will end up next, I know I will learn the basics of the native language so that I can survive.

survival of the fittest

 

hmm gif

Day 199: Going home

In less than a day I am going home for the first time in almost a year.

I am curious as to what kind of culture shock I will experience when I am there.

I know that Korea has changed me in many ways, but I am curious how much that will affect my perception of both the people in America and American customs….

Keep you updated~

Mostly Hilarious Responses about Student’s vacations (and a few thought provoking ones)

This week I asked my student’s to write answers to two questions:

1) What did you do on the school trip? (3 day excursion in which all three grades went to various locations in Korea)

2) What are your plans for summer vacation? What will you do?

The funniest/ most interesting answers so far.

Question 1: What did you do on the school trip?

-I rode a banana bort (several students wrote this)
-I had a sneck party.
-I ate snake (SNAKE!?!? No teacher, Snack! Snack!)
-I went to the simming pool (they played Sims all day in the pool)
-I went highking
-I rode a motherboat
-I ate photato chips. (Photogenic Potato chips?)

Question 2: What are your plans for summer vacation? What will you do?

-I will drink milk a lot.
-I will read 100 books at the library (love this girl’s ambition! she is a mini version of myself)
-My mother will lay a baby (I died. Absolutely died!)
-I will go to the ocean which is a swimming pool.

Many students (mostly skinny girls) wrote this

-I will exercise
-I will diet.

One boy wrote:
-I will lose weight and celebrate myself

One girl wrote :
-I will diet. I will have perfect body.

This makes me feel a little sad because already she is really thin. On her paper and on all the other kids I wrote: Why? You are so skinny !

Koreans face a huge pressure to maintain a certain weight and have a certain image. But when I hear these girls say “I need to diet” I think they have a disproportion sense of self. They are tiny. They don’t need to diet.

eating food

Day 198: EAT ALL THE FOOD

I love Korean food. Love love love love love it.

But I do miss American food sometimes.

Here’s a list of the food I am craving to eat while I am on my sojourn in the states. **

 

In no particular order I want:

**I am crossing off my list as I eat these delicious items**

 

1) Hummus
2) Feta Cheese
3) Pepper Jack Cheese
4) Capital Ale House $1 Burger night and Fries
5) Mango Sticky Rice
6) Mr. Yogato
7) Oven Baked Pizza
8 ) Moby’s Iranian Food
9) Lasagna
10) Yucca Fries
11) German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Icing
12) Ice Cream Sandwich
13) Strawberry Cream Pie
14) Captain Crunch
15) Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a bread Bowl
16) American Style BBQ with Corn on the Cob
17) Bagel with Cream Cheese
18) Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
19) Watermelon
20) Shockers
21) Reeses
22) Popcorn
23) Vanilla Yogurt
24) CHIPOTLE ( I LOVE YOU)
25) American Chinese Food
26) WONTONS (especially those made by the notorious KKY)
27) Pepperoni
28) Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
29) Poptarts
30) Tortillas
31) Chicken Caesar Salad
32) Salmon drizzled with lemon juice
33)  Shredded Wheat Cereal
34)  Roast beef sandwich with pesto on cibatta bread
35) Sandwich from Wawa or Sheetz. Mmmmmmm happiness.
36) Vegan Brownies
37) Latkes
38) Pumpkin Pie
39) Potato Salad
40) French Toast (IHOP)
42) Blueberry Tarts
43) Len Libby Chocolate (from Maine)

44) Eggo Waffles (Mostly because I love this gif)

 

I feel like this list could keep growing. I was tempted to google pictures to put in here, but seeing that right before lunch will make me too sad that I am still a few days away from food heaven.

** Some of this stuff I can get in Korea. BUT it’s not the same as in America.

 

 

UPDATED (9/011):

My trip home was filled so much tasty food that I could barely eat it all. I think  eating 30/44 was quite a feat! But right now I am craving an ice cream sandwich. I regret not making that happen!

Ain't nobody got time to help people

Asking South Korean students (13/14 years old) to tell me about their life

Recently I had a writing assignment for my 2nd Grade Middle School Students  (8th grade America)

First they took a job quiz with their partner  and then they  had to fill out worksheet that looked like the following:

 

My partner’s job is _______________________.

My name is _________________. I am ________ years old. My best friend is named ________. I like (him/her) because (he/she) is ___________________.

 

I am interested in _________________. I am not interested in _________________.

Next year, I will _____________

In the future, my job will be a ___________________ <–write result from activity #1 here)

I agree/disagree.

One day I will be_______________________

 

The Funniest Answers from this assignment:

 

My English teacher’s job is model. <— haha I wish 

 

Me as a model

 

My best friend is named Sarah-Teacher. I like her because she has grey eyes. <– out of all the reasons why someone likes me, it’s because of my eyes…  I am gonna start being friends with people based on eye color.  If you have brown, we can’t be friends. My number #1 friend has purple eyes. Green rates higher than blue. Keep this in mind for future reference.

 

Written by a girl: “”I like her because she has nickname crazy girl.’ <–Crazy like this?

 

Written by a Boy: “My best friend is Won Seok. I like him because he is handsome. ”

Written by a Girl: “My best friend is named Shinae. I like her because she is often cute.” <– but not always cute.

“I like her because she is preety and sexy.”

I like him because he is handsome. <— In America you would never say I like my friend because s/he is cute/handsome. This is especially most straight middle school boys. I think it’s cute that in the Korean culture it is normal/ acceptable to say these things.  

If Koreans hugged... . The world would be a better place.

 

“I am interested in having money. I am not interested in helping people.”  <— At least they are honest. 

give it all to me

Ain't got time to help people

“I interested in helping people. I am not interested in being pretty.” <— What I imagine–>

like this

Not like this

 

“I am interested in studying Pashion….. I want to be a Pashion designer.” <— I want to be a Passionate Fashion Designer! I have a lot of Passion for Fashion.  PASHION!! 

 

Hopefully her Pashion doesn't invovle Fur coats....

“In the future, my job will be sexy.” <– Sexy what??

Next year, I will have many girlfriend. <— nice to have some ambition in life, ha. 

“One day I will be a good person.”  <— YES!

“One day I will be excellent people.” <— I am excellent people.

Written by a Boy: “One day, I will Yu Min Marry.” <— Not sure if this is referring to a student or an actress….

beethoven

Asking South Korean students (14/15 years old) their opinions about Music

I asked my 3rd grade middle school students (9th grade in America) the question:

Should I listen to this song?

Then they had to watch  bunch of different Music Videos, give it a score from 0-10 and then answer as follows

“Yes, you should because…..”

‘”No, you shouldn’t because….”

 

Although I got many answers from the students like “Yes, you should because it is good” or “No, you shouldn’t because it is boring” some students wrote a few  off the wall, funny, and/or  deeply profound sentences.

The BEST answers I got from my students:

“Ode to Joy” by Beethoven (Classical)

Score: 7 “Yes, you should because it is helping the mind.”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should it has spirit evolution.”

Score: 9 “Yes, you should because it is to slient (care my heart).

Score: 7 “Yes, you should because sweat.”

Score 10: “Yes, you should because it is elegance.”

Score: 10 “It feeds my musical senses full”

Score: 1 “No, you shouldn’t because it’s lazy.”

Score: 5 “No, you shouldn’t because it was not  joyful.” –> I guess they saw this GIF

 

“Rock and Roll all night” by Kiss (Rock)

Score: 2 “No, you should because it was dirty.”

Score: 1 “Bad. :-)?”

Score: 2 “No, you shouldn’t because it has people headache. ”

Score: 0  “No, you shouldn’t because it was duty.”  Duty??  “dirty!”

Score: 1 “No, you shouldn’t because they are ugly.”

 Funniest paper I read in class (It’s so good I have to share it)

Student wrote: “Yes you should because I want a Rock!!”

 

 

“Lose Yourself” by Eminen (Rap)

Score: 5 “No you shouldn’t because I don’t understand what he said. However,  if you can understand this rap, I think you should.”

Score 9: “Yes, you should because It’s Rap is soft and Wild.”

Score 6: “No you shouldn’t because the man know handsome himself.”

Score 10: “Yes, you should because main Charatcher is handsome.”

Score 5: “No , he shouldn’t because he can’t rap.” <— Don’t say that to Eminem fan girls!

 

 

“Valio la Pena” by Marc Anthony (Latin)

Score: 2 “No, you shouldn’t because the melody is messy.”

Score: 4 “No, you shouldn’t because very cheese style.” 

 

Sandstorm by Darude (Trance)

Score: 4 “No, you shouldn’t because it is messy.”

 

Dreamgirl by Shinee (Kpop)

Score: 100,000   Yes, you should because it is very fantastic”

Score: 0 “Yes, you should because it is very very good good and great handsome”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because it is my country’s music.”

 

“Walkin’”by Miles Davis (Jazz)

Score: 1 “Yes, you should because it’s noisy song. It’s Arabia”

Score: 2 “No, you shouldn’t because it was dirty.”

 

“Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood (Country)

“Score: 10  “Yes you should because Lady is sexy.”

Score 100,000 “Yes you should it is so very so sexy.”

Score: 8  “Yes you should because it is fowerpull”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because good filling”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because she is pretty.”

Score 6: “Yes, you should because it is violent.”

Score: 8 “Yes, you shouldn’t because I fell soul.”

 

“Bubble Pop” by Hyuna (Kpop)

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because she is sexy.”

“Call me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson (Pop)

Score: 100,000   Yes, you should because the boy is very handsome.”

Score: 10  “Yes, you should because it is perefect body and voice.”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because it sounds very handsome”

Score: 10 “Yes, you should because the music video has chocolate stomach muscle.”

Score:  10 “Yes, you should because he is handsam”

Score 100 “Yes, you should because his body is very good.” <— all the girls were SCREAMING when they saw this. 

One Love by Bob Marley (Reggae)

Score: 0 “No, it makes you born.”

Score: 3 “No you should beacause no highright”

Score: 10 “Yes you should Loli dieski”

Score 8: “Yes, you should because it fee like soft chocolet”

Score 4: “No you shouldn’t because it’s like butter.”  <— Paula Dean would like it !!

Butterception

Groaning the Blues by Eric Clapton

Score: 0   “NO,  NO!!! You shouldn’t because it is too bad to hear.”

Score: 0 “No you shouldn’t because it is butter.” <—- More Paula Dean Love! Check out this link (I think this is HILARIOUS)

Score 3: “No, you shouldn’t because it makes you uncomfortable.”

Score: 5 “No, you shouldn’t because the singer sings look hard.”

Score: 10 “Yes, you shouldn’t becauseo I lik Erek Clepton.” <— You and my Dad need to be BFFS

 

Lights and Sounds by Yellowcard (Alternative) <— one of my favorite songs

Score: 7 “Yes, You should because the vocal’s voice is nice”

Score: 9 “Yes, you should because it is handsome.”

Score: 5 “Yes, you should because Fungky”

Score: 9 “Yes, My lord.”

Score: 7 “Yes you should because it is make my heart beat.”

Score 10: “Yes, you should because it is violent.”

 

You will notice a HUGE trend in students writing that you should listen to a song based on the singer’s appearance. Koreans are really image conscious, and since many students couldn’t understand most of the lyrics, they  wrote their opinion about the people in  music videos.

I suppose if I wanted the students to focus purely on the music itself I could have played the song without showing the video.

BUT, I feel that it was WAY more entertaining watching their reactions to the videos. Crazy kids :)

** Note: A couple students wrote multiple funny things on their paper, others just wrote one funny thing. I divided the responses by songs, not by the students.”