Friday, April 30, 2010

And On His Farm He Had a Vietnamese Wife . . . Ee I Ee I Oh No

To begin this update, I will list three different different professions I interact with on a regular to semi regular basis, and ask you to rank which position you feel would require the highest level of English speaking skills.

A. Employees at H&M in Seoul
B. 70% of the English Teachers at my School
C. My Barber at Scissor for Man

The correct order, from best to worst, is:

A, C, B

The Korean teachers at my school genuinely happen to be some of the nicest people I have met, but many of them have a knowledge of English that is on par with our lowest level students. I am in no way passing judgment on those who cannot speak English, but one would hope that a teacher would have a pretty solid understanding of the material they are attempting to teach. They are able to successfully teach the language they themselves do not speak by relying heavily on material recorded on tape and asking the foreign teachers to correct assignments, but the occasion does frequently arise where their lack of English knowledge makes the classroom experience a bit tricky. The Korean teachers are responsible for writing the material that is put in the workbooks we use to teach our students, and I often find myself trying to decipher some pretty bizarre texts as I stand in front of a class of less than semi fluent Korean children.

For example, I stumbled a bit recently as I looked on the list of vocabulary words I was teaching my students, and saw that the next word on the list was none other than 'bondage'. Though I am sure you all know what this word means, let's refresh our memories with the definition of 'bondage' from As you read the definition, imagine explaining this word to a classroom full of 9 year old students who, at best, understand 40% of what you are saying.

1.slavery or involuntary servitude; serfdom.
2.the state or practice of being physically restrained, as by being tied up, chained, or put in handcuffs, for sexual gratification.

I once again found myself fighting back laughter when we were meant to discuss the differences in household structure between Western and Eastern families. While I found this topic to be relatively interesting, a large percentage of the class discussion flew right over their heads. Let's just say the lesson plan pretty much peaked when I asked James to read discussion question #6 (which I had not yet read myself) to the class.

Discussion Question #6: Why do you think many farmers are marrying Vietnamese wives nowadays?

Another awkward teaching moment occurred when we were answering comprehension questions on the 6 pages we had just read in a story book. In the story, an old man named Simon is stumbling home after drinking too much vodka. As he passes a church, he notices a young, naked boy sitting on the front steps. The book describes this moment as the catalyst that forever changed his life. The question coinciding to the literary event was...

Question: "When did the old man's life change?"
Answer: "The old man's life changed when he saw a young naked boy."

Though these teaching moments tend to rise to the list of the most awkward occurances in my day, I do find retelling these stories pretty enjoyable. In what will surely be my last post of April, I will leave you with three summaries I corrected earlier today. The topic asked the student their opinion on the morality of advertising in Korean culture.

Reaction #1 I think advertising is good. Maybe you are good secretary of your country. When country wants to walk to world, you using advertising. You say "my country has many delicious food and healthy food. Kimchi is good has special taste." This introduce advertising kind of. Maybe you have beautiful and hansome face and you want TV Star. Have advertising. Many people know you. Finally you go tv star to beautiful and handsome face to advertise. Think!!! HOW EXCITING!!!!

Reaction #2 I think advertising is bad. Advertise is mostly lie. Second leaflet is a trashy, third advertising is very very expensive, so advertising is mostly lie. Example, 50% is lie, but in advertising, is 80% sale and is not 20,000 Won in advertising is 20,000 Won. And I saw the news a man live in Seoul he believe in advertising and he lose his house, car, he die. They can lie information. Advertising is very very bad.

Reaction #3 I think advertising is bad. Because it always tell it's good things and oftley lie. When we seeing tv program advertising stop we seeing tv program. And when we go market, example home plus etc., some men came and say buy some product. And when we say no, they coming we're back following us to must buy it. And sometimes its fraud. As a result I think advertising is bad because it is razy.

Enjoy the rest of your month.

Until next time,

Peeta Teecha

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