I got to teach 3rd grade mostly by myself today. Actually, it was pretty easy because them babies got themselves a routine going and they run through all the lessons in the same order and in the same way. It’s pretty easy to know what to do even if you don’t know what your lovely white teacher is saying exactly.
Also, 3rd graders scare easy when you shout. You shout, they shut up. Or in the case of my second class, you can just wait them out. Apparently that age is young enough to want approval, delights in playing “adult” and enforcing rules with their peers, and will easier conform and shape up instead of just being jaded and apathetic. So, my cuties would call out to be quiet to each other and about a minute of me not doing anything would get most of them hushed. Aww, love my little 3rd graders. Also, they can’t talk back yet.
May 5th is Children’s Day and when students say what they want to do that day, they say things like see a movie, eat in a restaurant, go to play games at a PC room, and sleep. Those seem like such normal weekend activities (yes, this is the first year they had two-day weekends-before every other Saturday was a half-day at school). But I suppose it is normal, except they could be doing those things with their parents. But they also told me they want to receive money and gifts so now I know what the magic of Children’s Day is really all about: spend some time with the old folks and get some monetary compensation. It’s kind of like Christmas. Actually, Korean kids have birthdays, Christmas, Seollal or Chinese New Year, and Children’s Day-spoiled little bastards.
My students told me they thought I could be 42 or 7 years old. Other guesses included 21, 25, and 29.
They also told me about their favorite handsome Korean celebrities. And that they watch 19+ videos even though they are elementary students and 6th graders. And Lady Gaga videos-which are disturbing ordinarily but especially strange to a country where 18-25 year old women still wear pastels and talk like babies, and the group you belong to defines you more than personal characteristics. You never have to figure out who ‘you’ are in Asia.
All in all, glad it is another Friday and I can escape the crazy on the weekend.
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Korean kids spend a massive amount of time in school. They learn a lot.
Korean kids even go to school on Saturday. Well, they did.
But most Koreans in Korea still believe in strange superstitions like fan death and only South Korea has four seasons. They also think Japan doesn’t own the Liancourt Rocks. They also believe that eventually the North Korean government will collapse even though their government is actively sending aid which goes straight to the military and helps keep the government in power. A student once told me he wanted America to help unify the Koreas. I tried to explain to him that America has a very unhidden policy about trying to keep stability in the region – aka, balanced – aka, status quo – aka, nothing changing ever.
Here’s to you, South Korean education!
Did you know there are beds in the school for teachers to use?
Sports’ Day at my Korean school in 2010!