Saturday, April 18, 2009

No filter

My Korean students don't have a filter. I'm not saying it's anything to do with their being Korean (although, maybe it is). They are more fluent than any of my Russian students their age, so maybe it's simply the difference of being able to express themselves freely in English.

During each session I receive some very interesting information as well as field unusual questions.

Emily (13), for example, told me that her mother doesn't let her sleep over at anyone's house because it is being greedy.

Min Joon (11) told me that when I wear glasses I look more like a teacher.

Emily said that her friends think she's rich for having been to China, although to Koreans it's a short trip.

Min Joon said that Koreans are the best at Math, that Americans "very well" live, and that more Russian women smoke than men.

We were in the middle of beginning a new topic when Min Joon said, "I just thought of something disgusting. I can tell you?"

Me: "Does it relate to the lesson?"
Min Joon. "No."
Me: "Then wait until later."
Min Joon. "So I can tell you?"
Me: "No, wait until later."

After we went over the last vocabulary word, he launched into his "disgusting" story, something about Chinese eating baby poop. I get a lot of bathroom talk from him. When he says "poo poo," I said "What?" in a shocked tone and he says "you know, dung." Then I put on my most serious face and tell him it's not appropriate language. But he doesn't believe me.

Anyway, the good thing about all this openness is that we talk about God, too.

Our topic for yesterday was "happiness." I remember my Russian professors torturing us with the question "What is happiness?" so I decided to employ it in my class as well. Min Joon and Emily seem perfectly capable of expressing their own opinions about things.

I gave Min Joon an assignment to write about someone in his life who was happy, and why.

"Can I write about you?" he asked.

"Do you think I'm happy?"

"You care for orphans."

"That means I'm happy?"

"You believe in God."

"You think people who believe in God are happy?" (It's my job to ask questions)

"Christians. Most people at my school are Christians, and they're happy."

"What about you?"

"I'm...55% of me....maybe in God."

"Hmmm, I don't think that's possible. I think it could be 100% or 0%."

"But you...I think you're 99.9999 %." (He likes Math)

"Why not 100%?"

"Because maybe you do something wrong."

"But if I do something wrong it doesn't mean I don't believe, I just have to tell God I'm sorry."

"I call my sister now?"

"Do you understand the homework?"

"Yes. I call my sister?"


We'll see how his homework turns out.


  1. This post is great! I want an update on his homework!


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