Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My battles with the Thermostat.

So. Up until today I had been looking at my Korean Thermostat with cautious curiosity. I googled, I researched, and all my efforts left me just as clueless as before. While it was plain to see that I had no clue how to heat my apartment (even having been here for 5 months already), I neglected to take the appropriate –and obvious- actions and request the assistance of my Korean coworkers (hindsight is 20-20 folks).

So, here, in all its glory, is my decoded, Korean Thermostat / Temperature gauge. This could also be entitled “How to work my Korean heating system”.

I’m now going to proceed to label this post in a billion ways in hopes that some other poor foreigner in Korea will be able to get their heating situation worked out for the winter. Merry Christmas!

(Sidenote: Heat still takes a long time to kick in over here. I’m now going to fearlessly experiment with my settings and see if I can get more heat to rise out of the ground by lowering my water temperature?)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

“As Kids See it” – the non-readers digest version.

Here we go. I usually wait to write a blog after a good week of teaching… but lately the little munchkins have been acting more like rascals and I haven’t felt inclined to share any of their latest antics… BUT. The redeemed themselves yesterday. Well, Anthony’s kids were cute enough to re-melt my heart and give me happiness at the end of a long week (thank you support class!).


My support class is lovely. Here, we find six beautiful children. Five girls and a boy. The boy is hilarious. Chubby little cheeks, big puppy eyes… and he loves all things princess. Princess pencil cases, pencils, crayons… anything pink really. So funny. His name is Peter. He never ceases to surprise me with the funny things he does.

Peter is always the first one to get ‘out’ while playing musical chairs. It isn’t that he’s not coordinated, or unable to understand the game… its that he has other things on his mind. Sitting next to me, he holds up his hands, makes a square with his fingers and proceeds to ‘take pictures’ of the girls as they are circling the chairs.

Me: “Peter, what are you doing?”
"Peter: “I fashion photographer.”
Me: :)

Later that day, while grading homework, I hear:
(I look up to find he has constructed a strapless dress out of our plastic connector toys and is modeling it for me.)
Peter: **Swishes the skirt and giggles**.

Later that week:
Peter is drawing a picture of a mermaid. Complete with seashell top. He beams at his picture.
Me: “Wow, Peter! Who is this?”
Peter: “She Cinderella. She beautiful!”
(Peter picks up the picture, kisses it, hugs it, closes his eyes and smiles).
Me: “Is she your friend?”
Peter: (nods) “She my girlfriend.”

Later that month:
Peter gets up abruptly from his chair, walks over behind Amy, and proceeds to start finger combing her hair.

Me: “Peter, what are you doing?”
Peter: “Hair is (makes messy hair with his hands). Me make pretty.”
Me: “Oh, are you a hair dresser?”
Peter: nods.
(By the end of the class he has helped two other girls with their hair issues.)


My older kids have their funny moments as well. This is from my class of nine-year-olds:

Question: What is your favourite food?
Their sincere responses are as follows:
Se-min: “Cookies.”
Sally: “Eating.”
Jack: “Teacher.”

At least Se-min understood the question :).
I’m also convinced that some of these kids are brilliant and genius-like in the way they process information.

Me: “Se-min, what does “the rest” mean?”
(Se-min looks at me, grabs a pencil and starts writing. Upon looking at her paper, I see that she’s drawn out a complicated math problem, and is in the process of solving it. Confused, I wait to see what  happens.)
Se-min: (Turns her paper around. The math problem has been solved, and Se-min points to her conclusion “1 remains”) “There, Teacher, 1 is the rest.”

Genius I say.

Recently I noticed that my eleven-year-olds were continually asking me about a teacher named Justin. He was apparently very mean and  they strongly disliked him. I was very puzzled by their inquiries because there is no Justin working at the school. Then, it hit me.

After the bell rings, I always rush to erase the board just in case a teacher wants to use it after me.

This is what the girls were constantly hearing me say:
"OK Girls! We need to erase the board. Justin Case Teacher is coming and wants to use the board.”

For the past while, they have been bitter against the fictional ‘Justin Case’ for his lack of respect and for being the reason their precious drawings were being erased at the end of each class.


Here are the latest occurrences in my core classroom:
As a bit of background info, my six-year-old kids, being ever so creative, have decided to adopt a class pet. Thankfully, it is an inanimate dinosaur they’ve fondly nick-named “GABOO”. This is pronounced “Gab-boo”. Emphasis on the ‘Gab’. They have also developed a cheer for it (“GABOO! GABOO! GABOO!…” *little fists are pumping in the air*) which they will chant at any opportunity. Literally. 8 little pairs of lungs and vocal cords exerting great energy into the GABOO chant. Yeah. Lucky teacher.

Also, the kids are obsessed with being each others ‘pets’. Apparently this means that they are the animal of the ‘owner’ for that entire day.

Typical morning with my kids:
Me: Ok guys, lets get out our Reading Street books!!!
Will: I get GABOO at lunch.
Rachel: No! Me GABOO!
Kelly: No, you GABOO yesterday!

Me: Come on guys, please get out your books!
Harry P: I want GABOO!
Harry L: No, GABOO is Rachel’s (gazes lovingly at Rachel).
Michelle: GABOO is Will’s. Will, can I be your pet?
Will: Rachel is my pet.
Rachel: And you Gaboo?
Will: Yes, me Gaboo.

Me: GUYS! Please get your books out!
Sue: Nooooooo, Teacher say we share Gaboo.
Me: We will talk about Gaboo at lunch time. Go get your books.

(General shuffling towards bookshelf)

Harry L: Rachel, I’m your pet?
Rachel: OK.

The whole class: “GABOO! GABOO! GABOO!”


Another couple of stories of romance and rejection:
My classroom is a mini soap opera. Here is the complicated love line/triangle/square:

Kelly, Sue, and Michelle all like Will. Will likes Rachel, but will play off the attention of the other girls to get her attention. In return, Rachel will torment poor little Harry L., because she too likes Will, but knows SHE will get Will’s attention if she gives Harry L. attention. Poor little Harry L. is head over heels for Rachel.

An example of a typical Harry L. crush moment:
Harry L.: (whispers shyly) “Teacher, can you put me on Rachel’s team?”
Me: “We’ll see what happens.”

(Later while drawing names out of a hat, Harry L. gets his wish)

Me: “Harry L., you’re with Rachel!”
Harry L: (Beams. Then, after thinking about it for a second, looks panicked and runs to me) “TEACHER! I CAN’T DO IT!!!! PLEASE! I NEED ANOTHER TEAM!!!!”


Likewise, there has been a declaration of love by Harry P. for Michelle. She flat out rejects him each time. The more recent overheard conversation between the two of them is a classic tale of boy likes girl, girl breaks boy’s heart. Keep in mind, these are six year olds:

Harry P: “Michelle, I your team?”
Michelle: “No.”
Harry P: “I’m your pet?”
Michelle: “No.”
Harry P: “I your team then?”


It’s also amusing to see these romances play out in the kids’ writings. Whether intentionally funny or having created double meaning phrases by accident, homework marking has never been more entertaining:

* In Will’s writing journal: “I have too much game.”
* In Michelle’s writing journal: “My friends are all simple.”

Sue’s journal was also humerous. Somehow, in a single sentence, she managed to declare the following.

* In Sue’s journal: “Everyone likes Katie teacher. Except men the.”

That got a nice appreciative laugh :) These kids are so perceptive ;)

From Alan’s journal: “Grapes become win.” haha. My kids like wine.

There was also a moment the other day where I felt like I had been teleported to the Twilight Zone. My class had turned into a gangster film or something.

While cleaning up after snack time:
Rachel: “Teacher, mommy said I could bring a gun for show and tell.”
Me: “… what kind of gun?”
Rachel: “Daddy’s gun.”
Me: “… a real gun?”
Rachel: “Yes. but no POW POWs” (makes gesture).
Me: “… a real gun..?!”
Alan: “POW POW!” (makes gesture).
Rachel: “Yes, but no shoot.”
Me: “No, I don’t think it would be a good idea to bring a gun to school.”
Harry L: (great excitement) “TEACHER!”
(I look over. Harry L is sitting on his chair with a fan of 1000 won bills. He is fanning himself with the money and squinting at me.)

:D Seriously?!?!?! :D

Then, already confused by this convo, from the other side of the class, I hear this conversation:
Michelle: “Yes, Will, you can be my mermaid.”

Gracious. What response is there but to laugh?

Gotta love life as an English teacher :)