Thursday, February 12, 2009

Apparently, I'm a Girl

I learned something new today. Apparently, I wear jeans a lot more than I realized. And, apparently, I am indeed female (this should come as quite a relief to my mother). I wore a skirt with tights and boots to school today, and the kids' reactions were hilarious! I had no idea that they paid such close attention to my daily wardrobe. Some of my favorite comments from the day included:

"Step-anie-Teacher, you are a girl today!" (Courtesy of Sue, the most energetic girl in my E3-D class.)

"Teacher, today is skirt beautiful, boots beautiful, tights beautiful, earrings beautiful, and hair is little beautiful. Face is very beautiful." (This assessment came from Amber, one of the older kindergartners.)

"Ste-panie, we are the same today. You are big me and I am little me!" (Charming words from Anne, one of my most enchanting students. We had on similar outfits today.)

"Teacher, wow! Today is skirt-day!" (Dear Mindy, from E4-B)

"Teacher, Teacher. You have no pants today!" (Cleo, the smallest and cutest girl in E4-B - and believe me, it's hard to pick a cutest girl in that class!)

"Teacher, do you have a date after school today?" "You look very stylish today, Teacher." (Input from Rachel and Victoria, the girls in my absolutely awesome middle school class.)

As Saturday is Valentine's Day, the chocolate offerings from my students are already beginning to pile up. From my kids in E3-C (one of the most generous classes when it comes to giving me food), I got enough chocolates to make me love the entire world! I was so delighted with all the chocolate that I happily announced, "No homework today!" to the delighted shouts of the entire class (for the record, I hadn't planned to give them homework in the first place).

Although I haven't been quite myself this week (I've been fighting off exhaustion and crankiness all week for some reason), it looks like the week is ending well. I have a replacement coming soon who sounds terrific (and, interestingly enough, is also a Michigander, which means she must be great!), I've got some fun things planned for a few of my classes tomorrow, and my middle school class has spent the entire week once again proving to me that they are five of the neatest kids around. I love having an advanced class that behaves well, always does their homework, and enjoys discussions.

A common problem here is that many girls over the age of about ten suddenly seem to lose their ability to speak, which makes them quite a challenge to teach in an English class. I have four of these silent students in another class, and they drive me nuts (I once threatened to check their pulses if they didn't start speaking)! Fortunately, this is not the case with my two middle school girls. Victoria and Rachel are sweet, fun, and interesting to talk to. Yesterday I had a really good discussion going in their class about the differences between American and Korean middle schools. I learned quite a bit from them. About a month or so ago, when we were studying an article about famous places in Asia, I discovered that each student in the class had been to one Asian country that the others had not visited (Chris had been to China, Luke had been to Japan, Rachel had been to Cambodia, Jacob had been to Thailand, and Victoria and I had both been to the Philippines). We had a fantastic round-table discussion in which each student had unique insights to offer - I think it was possibly my favorite class period of my entire year in Korea.

One of my other advanced classes was quite amusing today, albeit not intentionally so. I have been assigning them quite a bit of homework this week, since they are working on a more difficult unit (it's all about Canada, so at least it's interesting). Yesterday's fill-in-the-blank homework generated some very "creative" responses. Here are a few that made me chuckle:

"There was a lawyer of dust covering the table."

"India was once a prairie of England."

"India was once a community of England."

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"