Saturday, May 17, 2014

Things that happened at school this week

Things that happened at school this week:

1) I amazed my students by reading Korean. 

When I read the Korean one of the markers (보드마카)  for the white board my students were completely astonished.  But see, the funny thing is I've been able to read Korea for pretty much the whole time I've been here.  Not to mention 보드마카 reads as "Bo-duh-ma-ka.  It's not exactly hard to figure out what something says when it's just English words written in Hangul.  However, I am glad that my students are occasionally easy to impress.

2)  I amazed my students by telling them that my mom, brother, and I have blue eyes, while my dad and sister have brown eyes.

I was wearing a royal blue shirt, which is just about the only color that makes my eyes look really blue and less grey.  Naturally most Korean students aren't that used to seeing people with blue eyes, so they are occasionally really interested in staring at me on days when my eyes look especially blue.  This time two girls stayed after class to tell me about how much they loved colored eyes.  When I told them that my dad has brown eyes and my mom has blue eyes, they were completely shocked.  Then came my mini-genetics lesson about how that works (thank you high school biology!) They were fascinated, which was pretty adorable, but my favorite part was when they asked if I had ever seen people with green eyes.  When I told them yes they couldn't believe it.  Green eyes?!  Amazing.

They then asked if I knew people with red or purple eyes, and the conversation then changed to a discussion about the natural color of eyes versus the use of contact lenses.

Who knew eyes could be so fascinating?

3) A student shared her bathroom detail.

During my night class there is a fifteen minute break for the students.  During that time one of the girls in my class began telling me about how she has been having bathroom difficulties lately.  This is when the vocabulary lesson about the word "constipation" began.  She then continued to tell me a very long and detailed story about her problems with this before.

The funny thing is, this isn't the first time this has happened this semester.  I remember at orientation they told us that Koreans are very open about discussing bathroom occurrences, but I hadn't experienced it until this semester.  I don't know if it's because my female students feel close to me or what, but I am learning a lot about my students in ways I NEVER would have imagined.

I'm going to add this to my list of things that would never happen in America.

4)  I had a class of 27 crying teenage girls.

As I already noted, Thursday was Teacher's Day.  It was a wonderful day...until my last class.  Usually my students come into class before the bell rings, but when it came time for my last period class the bell rang and I still had an empty classroom.  I was wondering where they were when they slowly a few students started to come in.  However, instead of bouncing through the door and yelling "hello!" like they usually do, they were all crying.

My co-teacher wasn't there, so I was left to ask them what was going on.  I couldn't fully understand what happened, but apparently they had prepared a big surprise for their homeroom teacher (my CT later told me that they had gotten a cake, printed pictures, and were standing in a heart shape when he walked in the room).  However, apparently he had been upset with their behavior in his class (or in another class...I'm not really sure), so as soon as he walked in the door he said he didn't want it, yelled at them, and then left.

Well, these fragile, emotional teenage girls were heartbroken.  I can't imagine this class ever behaving badly, so I have a had time believing that they really did anything THAT bad. I guess I can't really know the full story, but it really broke my heart to see them all so upset.

So, there I was, in a room with 27 crying teenage girls.  How are you supposed to teach a class like that?

Naturally, I tried to distract them.  I put on Pharrell's music video "Happy", which was somewhat successful.  They were still upset, but at least they had stopped crying by the time it was over.

It's amazing how much can happen in one week.  When my days start to feel redundant, sometimes I need to step back and recognize these kind of unique moments, especially since I only have a few more months to enjoy with this group of kids.

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