Thursday, May 13, 2010

Speaking Korean and why J.K. Rowling hates the Tories

I'm not sure if I covered this before but our kids aren't supposed to speak Korean in class which is a really hard thing to enforce. Sometimes its great because if the kids are scared of you enough, the whole room is silent - many kids don't know enough English to casually converse with it so its win-win. And some kids have astonishing transformations where one minute they won't speak at all and the next they are chattering away in broken English.

But this also bring on a whole new issue with the tattle tale thing. When I first started working and I was with the kindergarteners, every once in a while a kid would shout "Teacher! Daniel is Korean!" I would turn around and stare, sorting through appropriate responses in my head. Since these are Kindergarteners I made an effort to get my sarcasm in check. I just ended up uttering an "Okay..." because I didn't know what else to say.

Eventually I got the idea that they meant Daniel was speaking Korean and they were not telling on their classmates for being Korean.

One of my students has a problem with this rule. She likes to talk. But she doesn't speak English that well. This is her main motivation for being such a good student. She wants to be able to chatter away to foreigners as much as she chatters away to Koreans. She has gotten really good at charades.

Yesterday, she managed to ask me through the couple words she knows and grand gestures where I was born (are you imagining the charade for the word 'born'? 'Cause it was spectacular). I told her Washington DC and she was very impressed. She wanted to know if I lived next to Obama and if I had ever been shot. She informed me that Washington DC was the gun murder capital of the world (which I knew) and she wanted to know why we had so many guns. I tried to explain that the British had ruled us until we used guns to overthrow them and so they were more a symbolic possession than anything else. I don't think she understood. All she knows now is that America has guns because of the British.

We went on to talk about how much she disliked Japan (many Koreans are of this opinion due to Japan's annexation of Korea in WWII - and the 500 times they've done this kind of thing before - and their use of Korean women as 'comfort women'). It occurs to me now I should have used that situation to explain about the whole gun rights thing but I didn't think about it at the time.

on another note, my studying up on K-pop really paid off, the kids are delighted when I make a reference to a K-pop video and they break into delighted shrieks and occasional dancing.

Also, apparently the UK has a new prime minister who was chosen by the Queen due to a lack of a clearly defined winner. All I know about the new guy is that he's from the Tory party, is the Queen's cousin, and J.K. Rowling hates his guts. Last one's a deal breaker.

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