Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ben: Pictures of School

[caption id="attachment_285" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Peace Teacher!"][/caption]

Korean kids are pretty stinking cute, but don't be fooled by this kid's smiling facade. I can't even count the number of times I've caught him trying to cheat on his spelling test or writing his homework for the next class during my class. No Korean kids are really cute (except for middle school students, who are punks, but than what middle schooler isn't). Catie has been telling me for sometime that I need to put pictures of my school and students up on our blog. The last couple of days have been the final days of this term, so since little work is actually getting done I thought I would take advantage of the chaos and get some pictures. I will also be posting pictures of the other teachers so that everyone can put faces to the names of the people I'm working with.

[caption id="attachment_286" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Andrew giving Scott some love"][/caption]

This is part of my 99D Writing class. Again, don't be fool by the apparent innocence, this class is trouble! There are 7 boys and the two girls you can just barely see  behind Andrew and Scott. At the start of the term this class was just the 7 unruly boys who with the except of a kid named Fire (more on him latter) cannot sit still or stay quiet to save their lives. Bryan, Aaron, and I all teach this classes and we have yelled, threatened, and bribed ourselves to exhaustion trying to keep their attention for at least part of the 40 minute class. No luck yet. Two weeks ago, the first girl (named Anna) showed up in the class (that happens allot, since it is private after school academy kids appear and disappear from class very randomly). Since she was the only girl in a glass of 7 boys, we didn't figure she'd last very long. (Equally mixed gender classes seem to work best for classroom management. When you have all of either gender it is just madness. The worst though is having all boys/all girls and just one girl/one boy, because then they sit all by themselves and are alienated from the rest of the class).  She stuck it out however, and a week latter Yumi showed up and since than they have slid right into the spirit of the class, shirking their homework, cheating on spelling tests, and talking with the best of the boys.

[caption id="attachment_288" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Fire and Sam"][/caption]

Two of the best students from 99D. This is Fire and Sam, far and away the sharpest sticks in this box of mostly broken pencils. Fire is one of my favorite students. He is super earnest and determined to study like crazy. I don't know how his parents have done it, but they've successfully indoctrinated him that he must study, study, study. Most of the parents tell their kids that, but the kids are all overloaded with regular school, 4-6 hagwons a week, and than extra studying for tests on Saturdays. By the time they get to Ewha many of them are burned out and couldn't care less. Fire is still going full steam though. Just to give you an idea of his attitude, he wrote an essay about his least favorite food, which is persimmons. He wrote that he hated the color, the taste, the texture, and how when when he tried it he felt sick. The part that is heart wrenching is the end where he says, "But my mom says that they are really good for my health, so I will still eat them even though I don't like them at all." Most of his essays conclude with something along this line, that even though he doesn't like it, if his parents say that he needs to do it, he will do his best.

The other kid in the picture is Sam, who is bright, if not quiet as dedicated as Fire. He was part of the Andrew and Scott clique at the start of the class, but sometime after midterms he must have decided it was time to shape up. How does one shape up? Well to start they move next to the smart kids and somehow their spelling test scores dramatically improve.

A common exchange:

Me: "Sam! Eyes on your own test!"

Sam: "Oh! Teacher! I not look!"

Despite this persistent cheating, Sam has improved dramatically in other, non-Fire related ways.

[caption id="attachment_293" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hangman!"][/caption]

I don't know if you can tell, but the girls up front are playing Hangman, the all time favorite game of the students at my school. They tend to go crazy playing it, shouting and pushing their way to the front of the class, so the game is officially banned at Ewha, except for very special days. Their hangman strategy is to skip guessing letters and go straight to trying to guess the word. They also don't finish the game until the word is guessed, no matter how many tries that takes. This results in some very detailed pictures. I've tried to tell them that they should at least guess the vowels, but they aren't having any of it.

[caption id="attachment_294" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Louise 1"][/caption]

This kid is in the same class as the girls in the previous picture. His name is Louise 1. At the start of the term his name was just Louise (pronounced like Lewis), but than a new boy came to class and decided that he too would like to be called Louise (also pronounced like Lewis).  I couldn't believe it when I saw his name on the attendance sheet, written as "Louise 2," but it was true. So now 97D has Louise 1 and Louise 2, equally unmotivated and easily distracted (right before this picture Louise 1 threw Louise 2's pencil out the window.

More pictures to come!


  1. put pictures of the American boys! Also, this is real funny. And I sent Japan off yesterday, that is what I call the aplication, just Japan. Fingers crossed.

  2. Do you think their parents will ever read this...?

  3. Hangman without guessing the letters. This hurts my head.