Wednesday, March 13, 2013

(Korean) Kids Say the Darndest Part III

This post, we will focus on some of my older students. While my youngsters are adorable and at times hilarious, mostly they are annoying (especially recently!). On the other hand, my older kids have been particularly amusing. Today was a gold mine, so I had to share immediately.

I teach 2 1-hour classes in the evenings. One is a new class, where all I do is listening practice with the students. Basically they listen to conversations or readings and answer questions. At home they have to write all the dialogues (usually around 4 30-second clips). I feel for them; it's horribly boring! But, it's what we have to do. I've finally gotten them to where they will talk to me more. They are hilarious, mostly in that I can make them feel super awkward easily.

Anyway, today we were talking and they were checking their homework (looking at an answer key and marking their dictations). We were down to one last person working, and the others were studying for a quiz in their next class. I told the last person checking her homework (Stacy) to hurry up, and Sarah next to her leans over and says something in Korean. I didn't really pay much attention, but instinct told me that she said something along the lines of, "don't go too fast!"

Somehow, in about .5 seconds it took me to say "You just told her to slow down, didn't you?!", I replayed the scene in my head and realized that I KNEW WHAT SHE HAD SAID. Like, I knew the Korean phrase, "Chun chun hee." (It is one of the phrases Yechan taught me to use when someone is speaking too fast to me and I need them to slow down to understand them). It means "slowly, slowly!" And, wouldn't you know, that's exactly what Sarah said to Stacy.

They looked at me skeptically and said "you know, teacher?" And I get the BIGGEST grin of satisfaction on my face and respond "Chun chun hee". The looks of shock on their faces were PRICELESS. I mean... I felt like the COOLEST white person in Korea at that moment. I've impressed them and amazed them with knowing numbers and basic phrases before (somehow it's amazing to them when I know how to say "hello" in Korean...). Anyway, the smug look probably didn't leave my face for hours...

During the 10 minute break between that class and my last one, I had another moment of Konglish (Korean/English) joy. Some of my former students were being punished by doing chair sits against the wall. I love when one of the Korean teachers makes them do these since they ALWAYS deserve it, and I don't think I could ever get them to take me seriously enough to get them to do wall sits or any other form of physical punishment...

Anyway, I was enjoying the sight so much I went and grabbed my phone to snap a pic. Of course, the moment they saw the camera, I got a massive Korean groan which I don't even think I can make into an appropriate onomatopoeia. They all stood up to avoid the embarrassment of a photo documenting their punishment, so I resisted taking the picture in order to get them back into submission for the Korean teacher.

As I was walking away, cackling with satisfaction, the new girl in my Leap High 1 class (with Henry), comes up and laughs with me and says "Fantastic scenery, huh, teacher?" I almost died laughing. It was so perfect. I love when my kids surprise me with a phrase or sentence that is actually something a native speaker would say. This was a perfect example.

In the last class, that Leap High 1 from hell, we are talking about journals and writing what happens in our day. I am trying to elicit answers about the most exciting thing that happened in their day, when Henry yells out "Wedgie! Wedgie potato! Lunch!" Which took me a second to realize he meant that at lunch, he ate wedge potatoes. I chuckled and corrected him with "you mean, wedge potato." Lots of yelling about "wedgie" ensued, and I couldn't help laughing. I quieted them all down and proceeded to walk right into a good 3 minutes of laughter by explaining to them the difference between "wedge" and "wedgie". A few of them didn't really understand until one student went into a full description of a cartoon where they hung the kid by his underwear on a pole. It was so great to see their faces. When Henry asked me if I ever had one, I told him something along the lines of "no, but I bet you have". Hysteria.

Those were the highlights of my day, for sure. During my planning period after classes, I was grading writing by my little ones and they had to write about their favorite animals. One student wrote about his chicken... yes, his "late chicken" which is, I assume, his alarm clock? Here it goes:

My school late chicken talks loudly. I get up fast. I'm not late everyday. I like my chicken. I love my chicken. And my chicken is very cute. ANd when I give it food, he eats very cute. My chicken's name is Brien. I love this name. He likes it too!
This was accompanied by a surprisingly good drawing of a chicken on top of a mountain and a bank. Who knows why there is a bank (which is taller than the mountain), but it made me smile so I let it fly. :) PS his English name is Brian. I guess he named his chicken after himself. I'm really curious if he actually has a real chicken...

Anyway, hope this made you smile! More updates to come...


  1. That was a hilarious post. I get this mental picture of these kids too. Can't wait for your next posting. I'm really impressed with your learning Korean. See you soon

  2. "Teacher face gooooood!" A sudden ego boost from a smaller friend is a pleasant surprise. :)


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