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Friday, May 22, 2009

Being a celebrity, kind people and pee

Walking to Homeplus (think Target) this afternoon, I ran into about 100 Boy and Girl Scouts. Thinking nothing of it, I continued listening to the latest "This American Life" podcast on my iPod when suddenly...

"Erin teacher! Erin teacher!"

Apparently these kids were at my school at some point, although I naturally didn't remember them. A few faces looked familiar but considering that we get hundreds of different students every week, there's no way to recognize each and every one. 

Some of them had hilarious reactions, as if they wondered what I was doing out of school and in the "real world." It's like the letter I got from a student asking, "What are you doing now? I know, you're making cupcakes." I guess when I was young I also thought my teachers' entire lives revolved around the classroom.

It's funny how they all say the same thing: "Hello! How are you?" If you ask most kids anything beyond "how are you?" they're suddenly stunned into silence. 

Even kids I haven't taught constantly stop me to say "hello," or shout it out from across the street. The funniest are the ones who come running up to say hi, tell me their English name, then run away when I say anything. It's a game to them.

(Interesting fact from Wikipedia: North Korea is one of only six of the world's independent countries that does not have a Scout program.)

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Homeplus > E-Mart. Maybe it's the Tesco connection. As if it wasn't evident enough when I realized today that they sell a bunch of essential foods that E-Mart neglects -- almonds at a reasonable price, a couple kinds of beans, nicer produce -- one salesgirl made the final decision.

As I stood staring at the bananas, trying to scope out which were the best and why some were exponentially more expensive than others, a girl about my age walked over from her spot hawking watermelon.

In perfect, almost-unaccented English, she said, "These bananas are too expensive. Look over here." She pointed around the corner where, sure enough, there were more bananas at about half the price of the ones on display. 

I can't imagine that happening at a store in the US, to have an employee point you in the direction of a bargain without a special request. It was almost like Kris Kringle sending parents to Gimbels but, you know, with bananas.

Or maybe I just look poor and she decided to cut me a break. Either way, thank you anonymous shopgirl.

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There are a few warning signs a student is too young to attend an all-day English camp outside of her normal environment:

- Not being able to climb the stairs or get into a chair without teacher assistance. 

- Looking vaguely frightened of the English teacher and choosing instead to sit on the Korean teacher's lap. 

- Peeing on the floor in the middle of class. And then just standing calmly in a puddle of her own urine.

- Walking through said pee puddle. And not just one student. Multiple. 

Guess which one happened to me today? If you say "all of the above," you'd be correct. 

Ah, kindies. Why are you so cute and yet so difficult to teach? 

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You know those days when it seems like the world is stacked against you and nothing can be accomplished? 

Read this. It shows that anything is possible with a little hard work and a lot of self-motivation.

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