Thursday, November 02, 2006

thank god it's fried chicken day

First of all, I've been having a lot of problems with internet at our apartment (I'm writing this at school) and with blogspot in general, so I apologize for my recent infrequency of posts...and also for posts appearing multiple times and formatting problems.

Yesterday in school, I was happily teaching class 2-1 the days of the week when the primary teacher of the class came in and interrupted. She is a very nice, somewhat older woman who speaks very little English, and usually either does not show up to my classes or sits at her desk, silently reminding the kids to behave...either way I have always taught her class completely on my own and was very surprised when she intervened. She gave each student a piece of scrap paper and had them listen to me saying each day of the week and then write it down phonetically with Korean letters! I was so surprised that I couldn't think of any way to resist and just stood there helplessly as Monday became "maan-dae-ee," Thursday "Ssoh-suh-dae-ee" and poor Friday "Hwah-la-duh-dae-ee" (There are no "th" or "f" sounds in Korean). I couldn't quite figure out the relationship between Friday and its Korean phoneme-d equivalent, but several of the students cried out, "Ohhhhh Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee!" and it did sort of sound like an f-less version of the word "fried." After all this, the teacher smiled serenely at me, thanked me, and walked back out of the room, leaving me with a class full of second graders all jumping around yelling "Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee! Hwah-la-duh chicken dae-ee!" and no idea how to make it stop.

After frantically improvising a little game based on the f-sound (it involved letting the kids wriggle around "ffffffff"-ing and made very little sense--they thought they were being animals), I went straight to class 2-2. The teacher of 2-2, Yi Sang Suk (or Smile, as she proudly introduced herself in my first teacher class) is one of my favorite teachers, and she is almost always present for my classes. I teach them, but she is fairly involved...modeling conversations with me and helping the kids with the games and activities...much in the way that coteaching is supposed to work. The only not-so-positive thing about her involvement is that even though her English is very enthusiastic, she often makes mistakes...and I have no idea how to go about correcting them in front of her class. Most of it is just pronunciation and not actual grammatical error, since we are learning such simple stuff. For example, when the kids start to get loud, she always tells them "Clam your hands 3 times." They obediently start clapping and clam (ha! see what I did there?) right up, but I kind of feel like I should do something about it, since correct pronunciation is the whole reason they wanted a native English speaker in the first place.

On Halloween, I let my 5th and 6th graders play bingo and gave halloween candy as prizes. When they heard we were going to play bingo, the 6th graders all started cheering excitedly. It's sort of depressing that they love stupid games like bingo and hangman better than the games and activities I spend lots of time and effort planning.

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