Intrepid Girl Reporter

psycho student, qu’est-ce que ce?

Probably the highlight of my friend C’s visit to my school today was not the fact that she got to watch my classes, not the fact that we ate fried chicken and gossip for lunch, and not eating weird cake in my principal’s office as he sat staring at us, mute. The highlight was probably my students saying things like “Teacher’s friend, are you from Africa?” and “He is handicapped. He is handicapped in head. Many handicap.” C is from the Philippines. Not from Africa. Not from anywhere NEAR Africa, actually. However, in Korea, it appears that all dark-skinned people look alike. (Although this still doesn’t explain why one of my students once asked me if I was Uzbek.) I’m also not sure where to go with the “don’t say handicapped, ‘handicapped’ is not a bad thing” lecture except to say that, you know, they shouldn’t say handicapped, because a) that’s not a term in common usage in America as much anymore and it is my duty as a teacher to inform them of that, and b) their statements are ril insensitive, especially with the implication that being handicapped is, in fact, an unequivocally bad thing. I’m not exactly politically correct myself, so I’m loath to teach a “these words will get you beat in America” lesson, but really. For a country whose cell phones are capable of cooking dinner, one would think that such outmoded ideas would be…well, outmoded. If I can keep them to the more common epithet of “Psycho! He famous Korean psycho boy!” I’ll be happy. Psychos, after all, do have a commonly accepted negative connotation.

I did play alphabet games with some truly adorable elementary school students over by City Hall today, though. Like, actually the cutest students alive. The girls were, anyway – which is a change from my school, where the boys are far more endearing. We played this game where we tossed a ball and each student had to say the next letter of the alphabet when they caught it, and when the ball got to a given letter, that kid had to come dance with me to “Come On Eileen.” (I got tired of Prince.) Then we played another game where they had to make the letters with their bodies. That wasn’t actually a game. It was more for my own personal entertainment. There were a few older girls who helped the tiny ones with their letters, and some boys who mostly pushed each other and occasionally the girls. Jerkfaces. Most of the little girls were really shy, but there was this one who was really funny – she wasn’t quite as quote-unquote cute, she wore these pink glasses and a ratty turquoise polo and her hair was messy and her teeth were kind of funny, but she totally marched up to me and was like, “What’s your name? My name is Jie-Min.” (All names changed, of course.) The nice thing about these kids, also, was that they all liked me. Then I had coffee with my friend D (really, I’m going to have to start making up names, the letters will begin to overlap soon) at two different shops in City Hall, which gave us the opportunity to compare and contrast the ambiances of both, and I mailed some letters. And tomorrow is the weekend, and Pop-Song.

(Note: I was talking to one of my students today, and I told her I would see her tomorrow in choir, and she gasped, “You remember me?” and threw her arms around my neck.)

OH! And I got a box today from America, box 1 of 2, containing, among other things, maple syrup, cumin, vanilla, and a copy of Ender’s Game for my host brother. If you’ve ever read Orson Scott Card, raise your hand. If you can name the song that references EG in the title, bonus points.


5 Comments so far
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I thought… I thought getting both would automatically lose me points. I’m too old to admit to listening to them / him.

Comment by Brendan

i’ve read ender’s game AND speaker for the dead. does that make me cool?

also, don’t know why i’ve waited til now to comment, and just to make that comment…but just so you know, in general, A+++ will read again, etc. i really like this stuff. 🙂

Comment by julie from the ville

i know i know! teacher!

it’s like one of the best books ever, along with The Westing Game.

Comment by Marie


Comment by candace

oh my god, i have to teach ´words that will get you beat in america´ on a regular basis. My favorite part was how mexicans always describe people as between `fat` and `really really fat`. I consider it an accomplishment to have taught them to say `bigger`. haha. bigger. I have also had to prohibit them from saying `negro` for black skinned people, and informed them that `fuck you` does not really mean anything quite as mild as `be quiet`.

Comment by jessica wendt

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