girls best boys in Incheon elementary school

18 12 2012

One day of teaching elementary school kids, and I’ve got phlegm.
Thank you, you little germ factories.

I’m substitute teaching 6-8-year-olds in Incheon this week.
This was my first experience teaching teensy weensies, and nobody died. Exhale.

They each have an English name, and we’ve even got a George, a Brooklyn and a Percy. “Simon Says” was a crowd pleaser, and we played Pictionary and obstacle course games that tied in their vocabulary. I can say that if Koreans are the most competitive people on the planet, that train has left the tracks by the time they reach first grade.

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Surprisingly, I found the girls way meaner than the boys.

Of four classes of 1st or 2nd graders, my all-boy class was the best behaved. Boys in mixed gender classes however, were over the top. John started class by theatrically writing “STUPID JENNY” on the white board. Boys in my other classes ran across the room to slap their girl classmates playfully on their arms.

But where the boys were guileless, the girls were crafty witches. I see why we have movies like Heathers and Mean Girls.

During introductions, my 6-year-olds said, “Hi, my name is so-and-so. I like blah-blah. I don’t like yadda yadda.” Jane started a trend by ending her self-intro with, “I don’t like Derrick.” One-by-one, every ensuing girl in the coven class ended her introduction with, “I don’t like Derrick.”

We played hot potato with my 7-year-olds, where you pass a ball around and answer, “My favorite _____ is ______.” When we got to colors (e.g., “My favorite color is pink.”), the girls conspired to pass the ball between themselves over and over again, so the boys had no chance to answer. Not a word passed their lips in either game, yet the girls united against the boys. Those poor boys had no response.

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Lea aka Heather

My favorite conversation of the day was with my 8-year-olds.

I used to think sharing personal information could lead students to be biased, given their cultural references here. Now, if a student wants to know my age or tax status, I tell them. I think these could be teachable moments but of course, I could be wrong.

Lea:     What centimeter are you?
Me:      183.
Lea:     How old are you?
Me:      39 in Korean age, 38 in American age.
Class: (silent wheels turning)
Lea:    Are you married?
Me:     No.
Lea:    Have you ever been married?
Me:     Yes. A looong time ago.
Lea:    (consults cell phone dictionary). You’re dee-vor-stuh?
Me:     Yep.
Lea:    Aren’t you sad?!
Me:     (smiling) No. Do I look sad?
Betty:  No. You look tired.





Abe and Ed

6 12 2012

Ed said Lincoln was superb. Sigh.
I would have liked to see this movie especially with my bro.
Lincoln
Eddie and Lincoln reminded me of the 60 Minutes interview with David McCullough a few weeks ago about Americans in Paris post-Independence. Charles Sumner, whose character is briefly included in Lincoln, traveled to Paris to study at the Sorbonne.

McCullough described that Sumner attended a class filled with colonial African students, dressed in the fashion of the day, interacting with other students. 

“They were standing in the midst of a knot of young men and their color seemed to be no objection to them. I was glad to see this, though with American impressions, it seemed very strange. It must be then that the distance between free blacks and whites among us is derived from education, and does not exist in the nature of things.” – McCullough

This was 1838, decades before the Civil War and long before Sumner influenced Lincoln’s personal beliefs. We canonize Lincoln, but we might not have had the Emancipation Proclamation without “The Crime Against Kansas”, which nearly killed Sumner.

D@mn, I’d love to shoot the sh!t over a good beer with my brother right now.
It doesn’t look like Lincoln’s opening in Korea anytime soon.