1. On the subway, a small child is staring at me. This happens a lot, so I ignore it. The child says something, which I suspect is directed at me. I look at him. He then says “영국 사람?” (“Young-guk saram?” basically, asking if I’m from England). I smile, reply “아니요. 납아공 사람.” (“Aniyo. Nam-a-gong saram.” No, South African.) The child grins broadly, says “Hello!” and tries to see what I’m writing.
2.1. For the most part, the first part of my students’ speaking test was awful. There were tears. But every now and then, one of the kids came up with something brilliant. For example, one scenario was that the student was confessing to their best friend that s/he had a boyfriend/girlfriend that s/he had not told the friend about. One student ran with this, and said that it was because the boyfriend was her best friend’s ex, and that the only reason she was confessing was because she needed her friend’s advice on what to buy the boyfriend as a gift to make up for an argument they’d had.
2.2. For their speaking tests, my students had to prepare a presentation where they used a symbol to explain their progress in learning English. Brilliant symbols included:
- A tree, made out of words, English expressions, and articles/interviews about Emma Watson.
- Korean modern history
- Online gaming
- A vending machine
- Super Mario
- A very impressive beat box demonstration
- Several students who sang and one who played the guitar
I giggled like a child with the last one.
3. Various subway sights and experiences:
- A guy wearing a green bowler hat
- A guy wearing a cat eared cap
- A guy in white skinny jeans, orange hair, orange All Stars and a Hello Kitty phone case.
- Sitting between two guys who both smell really good
- New episodes of Larva
4.1. The fact that my students are not too old for candy bribes, but old enough to understand that they’re a once of thing.
4.2. The fact that my students have yet to grasp that Mafia will not be happening again.
5. Buying random
junk trinkets for my mom and brother from Daiso.
6. While at Valley Rock Festival, finding myself surrounded by other South Africans, and one Irish guy saying “It’s illegal not to love the South Africans!” I felt that this was a wise thing to say in his situation.
7. The existence of a pirate Hello Kitty fan.
8.1. One of my students putting on a skirt to act out a scene. His friends took a lot of photos.
8.2. Getting involved in a discussion with my students about the age difference in relationships.
8.3. Being asked a bunch of questions I wasn’t able to answer about African politics – like what is South Africa doing about the situation in DRC. This was after having to explain to the students that there’s a difference between Congo and DRC.
8.4. My students explaining vocabulary terms via hand gestures.
8.5. The fact that asking my students what they’re doing when they’re misbehaving is more effective than telling them to stop.
8.6. After Valley Rock, students who found out that I went approached me to ask what I thought of it, which acts I liked and which ones I’d wanted to see.
9. Gifted camp
9.1. Giving an impromptu lesson at about midnight on the difference between lend and borrow
9.2. Having the tell the guy making a video to come back when something interesting was happening. He did.
9.3. Discovering which class is the musical class in the program. Very pleasant surprise.
9.4. Being woken up at 6:00 by unrelenting KPop in the dorms.
9.5. One of my fellow teachers dislocating his shoulder just as a load of fried chicken was delivered to our office. We all stood around saying “I feel really bad for wanting to eat now.”
9.6. The aforementioned teacher explaining to the students how he had dislocated his shoulder.
9.7. “Hey guys, remember forks?”