Well, it's official. The third graders have crossed the line between "comfortable" and "too comfortable". They've really relaxed a lot in class, and it's loads of fun now. Every class is at least 25 minutes group conversation, these days. Unfortunately, I appear to have morphed from Seonsaengnim into Noona -- a noona they are very, very open with. This week, while discussing priorities, I've heard all about who is a playboy, who can't get a girlfriend, who likes porn (and why). I've also heard three times that I am their top priority.
This is all hilarious.
It takes a lot of work to make sure I, myself, don't start crossing lines with sarcastic replies. I have to remember I'm a teacher in a classroom, and not a smart-mouthed girl in a bar. I tend to just fall back on the ambiguous connotation of a phrase I taught them last year -- "That's too bad."
One student made a massive accidental faux pas when I questioned his top priority being money. "Money? What about love?" I asked.
He was answering in front of the entire class, and in his nervousness, he blurted out, "Buy girl!"
The look on my face answered this for me, and the student immediately turned a deep shade of purple. "Ahniyo! No! Nonono! Teacher! I....no!"
"I know, I know. You mean, girls will like you if you have money."
"'Buy girl' is probably not the best way to say this...."
"Teacher, I know! I'm sorry!"
Today I was sitting in the EZ frowning over my Korean textbook when I heard unusually deep voices and the chained backdoor started to rattle. I ducked out around the corner to find a group of six or seven high school boys on the other side of the glass.
One immediately blurted out, "OH! Shape! Good!" He made the shape of an hourglass in the air with his hands. "S curve! Nie-suh!"
"Who the f....... who are you?"
"I'm fine, thanks, and you!?"
"No. Not how are you.... who are you? Who? Nukuseyo?"
"Uh... we... this school.... before going. 2008!"
"What are you doing here?"
"Uh... wae? Neo.... wae yeogi isseoyo?"
"WAAAAAAAAAH! Hangookmal [blah blah blah]! [Blah blah blah blah blah]? [Blah blah blah]!"
"Ahniyo. Chogumyo. Wae? Wae yeogi?"
Yes. Thank you. "What do you want?"
"Oh! Nothing. Hello! Nice to meet you!"
They each stuck their hands through the crack in the door to shake mine. I don't remember any of them at all. But then, I didn't teach the third graders last year.
Today, just after I released fourth period, they all crowded around the window, instead of stampeding off to lunch they way they usually do. I stood and watched them excitedly chatter for a few moments, pointing at something in the sky. Finally, one turned around to face me: "Teacher! Rainbow!"
Sometimes, they amaze me with their innocence.