It took about a day for the kids to get used to each other and start goofing around, but by the second day they had already established some interesting nicknames for each other: Giant Messi (the fat kid who liked soccer), Real Messi (the kid who was actually good at soccer), Grandma (something about his permed hair cut), Brother (the kid who looked older than all the rest), Monkey (take a wild guess), Super Strong Stick (use your porno-imagination), and Secret Power (another masturbation reference - go figure, they’re middle school boys). Grandma changed to American Grandma as soon as he picked up the toy shotgun. Interesting how these stereotypes can be so pervasive in the world.
There were many activities that filled the 60 hours of teaching time. The boys were divided into four groups - one group per teacher - to make English movies. I got the best group, who decided to do an action film. The other groups’ movies all had something to do with zombies and/or masturbation. Go figure.
Another of my favorite activities was the speed interview. Three teachers sat in the office and the students had to come in one at a time to answer as many questions as they could in the space of two minutes. And these were not normal questions that they had encountered before in their English classes. Oh no. These were the stupidest, most random questions we could think of: What’s the best name for a dragon? Why did you eat your cat? How old is your husband? Why do you hate David Teacher? Why did you steal my car? Some kids picked up on it quickly and rolled with it, coming up with some fantastic answers and even stringing some ideas along through the entire interview. One decided to answer each question as though he were the President of the U.S. Others just looked at us like we were crazy. They usually weren’t the fun kids, anyway.
|Practicing for presentations|
All in all, it was easy work and good fun, even if we were exhausted after spending nearly 12 hours with the kids each day. It was also extremely refreshing to hear almost nothing but English all week, and to have the kids genuinely trying to communicate with the teachers and (gasp!) each other in English. Oh yeah, and not having “hello!” shouted at me 200 times a day (I’m not exaggerating, and it gets old fast). While it’s been a bit difficult to return to the world of “average” students, it was inspiring to spend a week with these kids and catch a glimpse of what Korea’s future has in store.