I really don't know the kid's name.

Which is weird. I know every other fucking thing about him, including how many girlfriends he has (four -- I've met three). Oh. Sorry. I mean girl friends. Girl space friends. He's not a cheater. He's just a malicious little tease. Every time I see him with a new one, I tell her to stay the hell away from him. They all just smile at me with that, "Oh the teachers don't like him! He's so bad and mysterious and handsome!" gaga fucking stupidity they haven't beat themselves on the head with long enough to have escaped yet.

He's a third grader. I've taught his cute little ass since the time before his face changed over into heartbreaking territory. But the kid never has his own shirt on. Serious. Every time I see him, he's wearing someone else's shirt. And somehow I've never been able to latch onto his name as a result. It's part of how he stays out of trouble. Ingenious, really. Because if he just took his name tag off of his own shirt, he'd get walloped for it. But now, the teachers just grab him by his collar whenever he's doing whatever thing it is he's not supposed to be doing, make note and report the wrong fucking student to the head teacher.

He has got me wrapped around his little finger. I can fucking admit it. Those ones, they learn how to charm women early. And just about everyone else, who isn't jealous of them in some way.

Yesterday, he came flying down the hallway toward me, and bumped my shoulder as he went past. Everyone gasped. You don't run into a teacher. I turned around and started after him wielding my plastic broom handle. It really hurt, if I'm being honest. I swung it back and forth, strategically, over his head as he maneuvered several deep bows around it. As he did so, a cell phone slid out of his pocket and clattered on the stone tile floor. They're not supposed to have their phones, obviously.

He weighed his options. He was wearing Inho's shirt. He dropped to his knees and scuttled after the phone, moving like a fucking ninja toward the back doors that let out onto the handball court. But he wasn't quick enough and I caught him by the wrist.

"Just one time. Please. Teacher. Please. Just one time close your eyes. Please don't see this. Please just one time close your eyes." He said it in Korean because he doesn't speak any English, but has seen me outside of school often enough to know that I would understand.

By this time, a bit of a crowd had started to gather. "Is it yours?"

"No. It's a friend's."

"You'll go straight upstairs and give it back to your friend?"


"Give it to your friend. Now. Yes?"

"Ah. Yes. I promise."


I let go of his wrist and turned to walk away. His friends had seen him begging, but I would like to think he honestly meant it as a 'thank you' rather than a 'fuck you' -- the trouble is, sometimes you just don't know. "Teacher body sexy!" The most English I've ever heard him string together at once.

I turned on my heels. ".... Excuse me?"

I caught his wrist again just in time and hauled him down toward the elevators. Which happen to be in the same direction as the haksaengbu. When we passed the last set of stairs, he started to panic and gently tried to pull his wrist away. "Teacher please... no.... please no 이봉운샘.... please..." 이봉운샘 would fucking murder him for using that word to a teacher. But I just took him up to the fourth floor instead. Told the third grade head teacher he had a present for her, and left him there to explain for himself.

If there is one word I wish had never crossed over to the Korean language. I swear to fuck. Disappointing, Whatever Your Name Is.


Lolimahro said...

Here, here! I had one kid at camp this summer who, I kid you not, said not a single English word outside the phrase "shake your body" any time I taught him. He answered every question I asked him with that phrase, no matter how inappropriate. *sigh*

bonincontrus said...

Will you please explain in english what the word means? I am still learning and have never seen it, and I tried a translator and its not having much luck.

Thank you :)

I'm no Picasso said...

Lolimahro -- The saving grace of this summer is that we didn't have a massive pop song with an English chorus that caught on like wildfire. That's the most frustrating, when all the students have learned the same erroneous English phrase at the same time. It's all you hear for months.

Bonincontrus -- Do you mean 이봉운샘? 이봉운 (Lee Bong Woon) is a teacher's name, and 샘 is a shortened prefix which means "teacher" (선생님 seonsaengnim---> 샘 saem). 샘 is also sometimes written as 쌤.

I'm no Picasso said...

Uhhhh.... suffix, obviously. Hi I'm an English teacher.

karisuma gyaru said...

eheheh, i have a couple of those charming playboys too... amazing the shit they can get away with when they're pretty...*sigh*

in japan they just go "nice body!" if they think you have big boobs... even though they have no idea what they're prattling on about...

although i did have this one unfortunate incident where one of my co-teacher asked me to explain the meaning of "grope" to her, in class, and i was like "i'll tell you later" (obviously) and then this one group of brats overheard and this one kid spent the rest of the year following me around going "can i grope you?"...

unfortunately, the disciplining methods you seem to have at your disposal are completely nonexistant in j-land...

Turner said...

I don't understand how students can see this kind of behavior as anything other than condescending to foreign English teachers. Granted, I'm not in a public school, so I haven't heard any student give a Korean teacher an obviously false and over-flattering compliment in Korean when he does the student a favor, but it happens to me all the time. Do you know if students just blurt out obviously condescending attempting-to-be-flattering statements to everyone who helps them?

I fixed a student's pencil case one time: "Teacher, handsome! Teacher DiCaprio!"