Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enthusiastic about English

One part of the job that I find dreadfully monotonous is called "immigration."  Because our school is a camp, the youngsters (or adults, depending on the program) are first taken to the gym to be given an orientation that all but 3 students talk through without listening to a word.  Always a great sign that the students will be attentive, although, the orientation is completely dull.  After which the students are taken to their dormitories, followed by a trip to "the airport."  Yep, they go to the airport.  It's not a real airport. That would be amazing, but instead they are taken to the room which is setup to look like the immigration desks when one flies internationally.  They are going through immigration as a symbol that they are officially leaving Korea and entering into an English only school.  But of course, the first words they hear after "immigration" are in Korean, so it doesn't really make the magic in the room stick.  The kids are typically terrified.  They stare at us as if we are aliens, trembling in their school uniform booties afraid we might get hungry and start to eat them.  We ask simple questions, "how are you?" "What's your name?" "Whats your favorite sport?" etc.  Generally its a struggle and I forget what questions I've already asked and what question I asked them 5 minutes ago when we both spaced out, she because she didn't know the answer and she has been pretending to be thinking about it rather than saying I don't know, and me because I have asked this set of questions about thirty times already in last half hour.

One student yesterday surprised me however yesterday.  Her English was a much higher level than the others and she was excited when answering the questions.  So excited in fact, she didn't want our little interview to end. Instead of walking away when I had finished, she began to examine me. 
Me: "What do you do for fun?"
Student: "I play my favorite computer game."
"Whats your favorite computer game?"
"Starbell" (or something like that.  I didn't really understand and I didn't really want to know)
"Great!" I said feigning interest.
"Teacher, what is your favorite computer game?"
(Stunned....What, she's asking me a question?) "uhh.. I don't like computer games."
(she stares at me like I'm an alien.  Everyone loves computer games!")
I continue- "but my husband plays World of Warcraft."
"What's that teacher?"
"It's a fantasy game."
(she stares at me again)
I continue, "it has elves and things in it."
"What are elves?"
"you know, those magic people with pointy ears."
"you mean aliens?"
"Yes, yes, aliens, that's exactly what I mean." I lie.  I don't think I can explain a game I never play, nor explain an elf from an alien right now.  "Have a great day!" I say pushing her along.

So, I'm not a perfect teacher, as you can see, but at least I have a story from it.

1 comment:

Peter and Leslie said...

This is the post of a jaded English teacher! Just have her read LOTR then she'll never have confusion about elves again.