Interesting stuff these last couple weeks. Instead of the usual first class, I had my students make a “coat-of-arms” for themselves (wherein they draw their “favorite” things from a list they can add to, onto a shield design). My reasons for this activity were three-fold: to avoid talking about myself, to learn about them so as better to plan lessons, and to observe their working dynamic. It’s been a while since I was in Korea, and pop culture has changed for the teenaged set.
1. For a week and a half, I saw male students writing “LOL” on their papers. When I asked them what it was, invariably they refused to tell me. Even my co-teachers were asking me what it was. Today, I finally found out it’s “League of Legends.” A student asked me to how to spell it. It’s obvious now.
2. Apparently all my students know what “transgender” means. I was surprised that the word is in the zeitgeist here to that extent. A student wanted to ask me how to spell “Transformers” so she accidentally yelled “transgenders” across the room. Poor, embarrassed student. I shushed the laughter immediately.
3. Lollipops are fine but they covet chocolate. Gummies are even better.
4. I told my students I only know two kinds of “chicken”, i.e. the chicken one finds in chimaek restaurants. They erupted into moans of “Poor teacher” and schooled me on the chicken rainbow. “Cheese” chicken is the favorite. I have no idea what that is.
5. Doraemon, Crayon Shin-Chan, Dragonball, and One Piece. Frozen is totally over with them.
6. In Incheon, there was a really strong trend towards girls having bangs. I blogged once about how a student took me aside especially to explain her “bangs pride”. Most of my students don’t have bangs now.
7. Funnily enough, the dynamic with co-ed students is almost completely similar to the all-girls environment. It’s just that now the loud students pummeling each other are boys, and all the “pretty” girls (the ones who spend class preening) have blonde hair and boyfriends.
8. I haven’t been looking very hard, but it seems to me that most of my classes don’t have a class “outcast” (the one everybody bullies). It seems as well that the students with special needs are being helped by the other students and are generally well-liked. I will keep on the lookout, but so far it seems like a good situation.
9. I have a lunch class of twenty third graders. I’ve never had third graders before, but they must be busy, because of the twenty, I’ve only met four of them.
10. Harry Potter is “that old movie, really really old movie”. I need a drink. (just kidding. no I’m not. just kidding. no I’m not.)
I’ve had good and bad times this week, but I’m being aggressively positive about everything. Yup. Overall, the activity was good (as confirmed by the teachers) as was the lesson it was attached to (language of introduction, like “I am” “I have” “My favorite”) and I’m going to do it again for the incoming 1st graders next semester.
Bonus: Best student response of the past two weeks. Me: “Tell me three things you like.” (Female) student: “I like hip hop, money, and pizza.” Hell yeah.