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.

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.”

Highlights from Student’s Essays AKA I think my kids are hilarious

I had to read  almost 40 students’ essays for a writing competition. The highlight of what I read (a combination of really funny and great words of advice):

about Baseball:

“My favorite sport is baseball. Because I always watch it with a cliffhanger.”

“Young Gyu is faster than other members and Sun bin is cute in KIA, but my favorite member is Na Ji Won. He is fat and looks like a pig. so he is called “Doe Ji Wan” . It means “Pig” but he is cute and a good home-Run guy.”

“I watch baseball game every day. Do not forget.”

about Badminton:

“Hold the locket down and then when the ball come to you, hit that ball.”

“Second, it is effecting to lose your weight. Many people always think about their weight. It’s their problem. If you will join the badminton you will solve it easily. For example, I will tell you my friend Ji Hee’s story. She was a little fat when she was young, so always played badminton with her mother .Today she lost her weight. Also she got healthy body too.”

“Finally, doing badminton will help you and your friend’s relationship. You can feel friendship with your partner. This game is important to rely your partner. Therefore, when you fight with your best friend, win it together, badminton will help you.”

About Swimming: “I think learning swimming is terrifying at first because I felt some nameless fear when I gold my breath in the water… However I like swimming I feel smooth and fresh when I’m in the water.”

About Basketball: “Game is so hard, but that is opportunity to remove your fat…. I feeled I am destiny in basketball. So I started basketball at 15 years old and known as “Got of Basketball”  or Michael Jin.”

About Different Books:

“I feel very exciting after reading the book. I want to magic power. Finally thank you for reading here.”

“The book is called “The Prejudice and Arrogance” <—- instead of  “Pride and Prejudice.” 

“When he was the same age as me, he poured paints into the river with eyes full of curiosity.”

About Twilight: “And I want to write my love story like this book.”

 

confused korean

Day 92 Part 2: I attempt the impossible

Part 1: Korean Names Overview

PART 2: Attempting the impossible

This year I am attempting the impossible. I am teaching over 600 students and I want to remember all of their names!

Why? Because students respond much better in class when you know their name versus saying “Hey you! Red Sweater! Read the sentence!” The students already have the problem of speaking English as a second language, so if they are zoning out the best way to grab their attention is to say “MINJU!!” Generally they snap to very quickly after that.

The Inherent problems in this task:

1)     My classes are HUGE and I don’t see them that often

2)    Korean Names are really similar!

3)    Korean students don’t always write their name properly in English

4)    Korean Names are hard to pronounce

5)    Korean students look very similar

Problem #1:

I have many students in my classes. My smallest class is about 14 kids, but an average class size for me is 32 students. The 3rd  grade students (9th grade in America) I see once a week. The 2nd grade students (8th grade in America) I see once every three weeks.

Problem #2:

There is a huge similarity among Korean names. Check out Part One: Overview of Korean Names for more details.

Furthermore  in Korea it is important to introduce your  full name when you meet someone.

In America, it’s easy.

“Hey! What’s your name?”

“Sarah.”

“Sarah! Nice to meet you! I’m Riley.”

In Korea:

“What’s your name?”

 “My name is Jeong Seung Hyun!” the student spits out faster than a rattlesnake biting it’s prey. 

First of all, too fast! Secondly, your family name is unimportant!

Family name! This is too much!!

I just want to know their first name. However, this confuses them because they always say their last name first.

So then I end up asking them “What’s your given name” which further confuses them!

Given name? What does given name mean?

Problem #3:

Even though at this point my students have been studying English for 5 or 6 years, some students don’t know how to write their name in English and/or when they do they write it wrong.

This was a challenge for me when I first moved to Korea since I couldn’t read, write or speak Korean.  Blog post pending about the trials of trying to learn names last year.

So if I look at a Korean name written in English and try to pronounce it, I might end up saying the name wrong because it is written wrong!

Wrong all around

Problem #4:

Even if a student wrote their name completely right, some Korean names are REALLY hard for me to pronounce.  They are foreign and strange sounding.

Like this name:

I find the vowel    hard to pronounce in Korean words, which makes it difficult when I have to say the student’s name.

And this this name:

Gyuuuuu is just weird to say. So no matter how hard I might try to a say Korean student’s name I will probably mess it up.

Why so difficult!!

There are many more examples I can think of, but I think you got the point.

Problem  #5:

Korean students look very similar. They tend to have same  eye color, same hair color, same haircut,  and many students wear thick, black framed glasses.

Hair cut styles:

For Girls: Long (straight or permed) & Bangs! Almost every Korean girl student has bangs and they  are CONSTANTLY brushing them.

For Boys: Short (sometimes permed!)

Not to mention all my students wear the same uniform!

This is exactly what I am talking about. THE SAME!

I felt like the students tended to blur together more my first semester teaching because just how similar they all looked compared to American students. American students differ vastly in both facial features and also in their style of clothing.

The loud kids in my classes are really easy for me to distinguish from the others and same goes for the kids who physical appearance sets them apart from the others. The students with a different hair style (colored! a light brown!), or  a student who wears white glasses instead of black, or who throws on a preppy sweater over their collared shirt tend to be more memorable.

But for the more quiet students, unfortunately, it was and still is lot easier for them to blend in the background since my classes are just so BIG.

–>  So what normally happens as a result of all of this: 

I will ask a student their name. They will tell me “Kim Sang Jun.” I will attempt to remember their name, but won’t see the student for 1 or 3 weeks. In the meantime I have a ton of other students whose names I want to learn.

When I finally see that student in class again, the following three scenarios ensue:

1)     I will end up forgetting Kim Sang Jun’s name entirely. Oops.

2)     I will confuse him with someone else because I think he looks like “Jae Won” He’s not Jae Won. Damn.

 

3)    I call on him and say “Seong Jun!”

“Teacher! WRONG! Sang Jun! Sang Jun”

Double damn.

Solutions:

Last year I had each student make a name tag. My vision was that they would always bring it with them to class and slowly over time I would learn all their names with the help of the visual stimulation.

WRONG! The kids would forget to bring it to class or would lose them.

You forgot? You lost it?.... Cool

As a result, feeling so overwhelmed my first couple months teaching here, I didn’t end up learning my student’s names unless they specifically sought me outside of class to talk to me a lot.  I know, I know. That’s terrible.

My only excuse is it was hard to adjust to Korea land.

This year’s plan:

At the beginning of my first class with my students I had each student write their name in English AND Korean (in case they wrote their name in English wrong) and then I took their picture with their name. Seeing the students name WITH their face has made it a lot easier for me to remember their names.

Also, seating charts! I made a specific seating chart for each of my classes which I constantly refer to. Some students names I know off the bat because I talked with them a lot last year and this year.

I got this

BUT other students I hardly see, so it’s good to have a reference chart. It is my goal that within next month I will have learned most of their names!  Wish me luck with this endeavor!

 

confused gif

Again, I am just so impressed with some of my kiddos

Yesterday  was science day at my middle school which meant that the afternoon classes were cancelled. I was just doing work in my office when randomly two boys came to talk to me after they did their science experiment (egg drop).

I ended up talking with them for a long time which is always fun.

They told me that English was hard for them and I told them I feel their pain because for me, Korean is hard.

My students trying to understand & speak English

 

Me trying to speak and understand Korean

I had them help me practice writing sentences in Korean and then I asked them to write what I wrote in Korean into English.

I think it is so cool that even though their English level isn’t super high, they still made the effort to try to communicate with me outside of class. They were under no obligation to talk to me, but rather they came to chat with me on their own volition. I told them I was super proud with them because they were going the extra mile (or in Korea land, kilometer, ha!) to practice English.

I really love it when students come seek me out after class to chat with me for two reasons:

Firstly, most of my classes are pretty BIG!  It’s hard for me to get to know everyone when I have so many students (about 600! not counting the 1st graders in Middle school who I don’t actually teach but I sometimes interact with)

Secondly, I really love chatting with people. I have developed from a shy bookworm into a chatty, chatty, chatty person.  I find it really interesting to hear about my student’s lives, find out what they are interested in and what is important to them.

I am currently taking Korean classes which I think is really helpful for me a teacher. I understand what is is like to be in a class taught almost entirely in another language and feeling lost and confused. Sometimes I feel like the dumbest person in the class and I am frustrated that I don’t know what the teacher is saying and what is going on.

But then when I know what is going on and I can answer a question in Korean or when I write a sentence properly, I feel so accomplished! I think: YAYYYYYYY!

This in turn helps me with dealing with my Korean students because I will sometimes bust out my Korean skillz when I am talking to them.

For example, sometimes in English class the students will be learning a new English word and I will ask them “What is the word for this in Korean?”

Then I will attempt to write it on the board in Korean and when I get it right, I do a little happy dance and say “I am a genius!”

Most of my kids laugh, they probably think I am crazy, but I think they are so surprised and happy I am trying to speak Korean.

I know English is hard, but all I ask is that the kids try! So I am  thrilled when they really make an effort to get out of their comfort zone and chat with me.

 

confused

Storyaday Day 99: Bip bi! Bip bi!

Today a 2nd grade student (8th grade in America) kept pointing at my hair and saying “Bip bi! Bip bi!”

I was totally confused and tried writing what she was saying on the board in English. She told me it was wrong and then wrote in Korean.

That didn’t help me at all!

I still was confused and asked my co-teacher was going on. My co-teacher couldn’t really explain it to me and I let it slide to that I could start class.

LATER TODAY

Some girls came to my lunch class and said “Bip Bi! Bip bi!” and pointed at my hair.

Finally it clicked!

They were saying “Pippi!” as in Pippi Longstockings! I had braided my hair today and it reminded them of “Pippi!”

or as the Korean pronounce it “Bip Bi, Bip Bi”

In Korean the P & B sound kind of blends together and it is hard for many students to distinguish between the two.

For example, when I am trying to help a student with spelling a word and I say “B” they might write down “P” and vice versa.

Glad I finally figured out what the girl was trying to say!

Day 76: I like you

Last week I read a Cracked.com article discussing the 5 major Virtues of Mr. Fred Rogers (from Mr. Roger’s neighborhood).

I can’t tell you how many hours I spent watching that show when I was younger. Actually, I’m not gonna lie,  reading the article and watching the video clips made me tear up. Mr. Rogers definitely made a huge impact on me, even though the effect of his show is very subconscious.

In his award acceptance speeches Mr. Rogers asked people to take 10 seconds and think about the people who have helped them become the person they are today. Although many people have crossed my mind, too many to name, some of the first people I thought about are the people I have met in South Korea.

Moving to a new country was TERRIFYING. I spent the whole 13+ hour flight to Korea sick to my stomach, feeling like I had made a horrible life mistake. But once I got here, I calmed down and realized that Korea is really awesome. I love my new life here.

A large part of that has to do with the people I have met, both other foreigners and Koreans. Most of the other foreigners I have met here are not only super friendly, but also, like me, they  are willing to go off on random adventures at any place and at any time.  I also love how most of the people here have such a positive outlook on life! It’s hard for me to talk to people/ be friends with people who  are constantly serious and/or negative because they suck the joy & fun out of everything.

My favorite types of people are the ones who are ready to laugh at anything (even about crummy situations) and I feel that this describes many the foreigners friends I have made here.

Living in Korea I interact with Koreans all day. I have to say that as a whole my experiences with the Korean people has been extremely positive. I find that most Koreans are very kind and friendly, ranging from the students who yell “Teacher, I love you” down the hallway at me (those crazy middle school kids!!), to  the Korean friends I have made, and to the random strangers on the street.

Case in point: Last week it was drizzling and I didn’t have an umbrella. I decided to just tough it out in the rain during my 5 minute walk home from the bus stop to my apartment. As I was waiting on the sidewalk for the light to change so I could cross a busy street, a random Korean woman walked up to me and held her umbrella over my head.

I insisted in Korean I was okay, but she insisted emphatically that I stay under her umbrella. We talked for a few minutes (with my broken Korean) and then we crossed the road together before going our separate directions.

Since Korea is not as ethnically diverse as the US and other countries, non-Koreans really stand out. I feel that many Koreans will go out of their way to try to talk to foreigners and to show kindness that I have not often experienced in America. Of course, there are some things that Koreans do that I find rude (like shoving you in a crowd and not apologizing @__@; coughing/sneezing with their mouth open, etc.) but in general, I find Koreans very helpful and nice.

All in all, I feel really lucky to have met so many awesome students, teachers, friends, and strangers, who  really go above and beyond to try to help me and show kindness to me just because they can, not because they are obligated to.

For them and for all the other people  out there who have offered a friendly smile to me I say “Thank you. I like you. I appreciate you. You make me happy when skies are gray.**”

 

*Nod to the rainy weather that night.

Graduation: the other side of the looking glass. (Storyaday: Day 38)

Today was the first time that I have been on the other side of the looking glass when it comes to graduation. This is the first time I have attended a graduation ceremony as a teacher.

I have to say I am surprised by how much I will miss some of my middle school students. I only was their teacher for about 5 months (having come into school in the second semester), but I was able to develop a really great connection with some of my students.  Even the kids who I didn’t get to talk to as much, I wish I had a chance to get to know them better.

Overall, after my first semester teaching English I have had a really positive experience. My students were a lot of fun (for the most part) and I hope I will stay in touch with the ones who have meant a lot to me.

I am curious where my students end up and how their English will improve over the years.

I didn’t get a chance to take photos with everyone I wanted to, but here are some photos of me and my students:

 

Hee Jin & Yeji

Oo Jin & Do Geun

As a rule, Korean boys don't like to smile in their photos. He looks so unhappy!

Thinking about this makes me really appreciative of all my former teachers who have impacted my life for the better. Every teacher has left some kind of mark on my life and I am grateful to those who made class interesting and fun.

One of the classes that has had the longest impact on me has been #ds106. Even now, years later, I am still thinking about #ds106 and how I should be creating art and other materials for it.

I might not have as much time as I would like to devote to it, but I still want to be a part of it whenever I can. #ds1064lyfe.