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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mel Brooks corrupted my brain

We have Russian students again this week, in addition to our usual contingent of elementary school Koreans and (cue scary music) fifth grade orphans. Yes, it's hectic. 

Most of the Russian students -- ranging between ages 10 and 14, it seems -- are integrated onto teams with Korean students. There are only four Russian students who chose to remain on an all-Russian team.

It's been heartening to see how well the Russian and Korean kids interact, considering that wasn't nearly as smooth when we had Japanese students a month or two ago. For the most part, the kids really seem to get along and help each other out. Last night during group activity, for example, one of the youngest Russian girls started crying. Immediately, her entire team rallied around her, offering tissues, candy or just a pat on the back. Considering that the students had just met that day and their only shared language was a limited grasp of English, it was a touching scene. 

Being unfamiliar with Russian names did lead to a funny moment in class today, though. Whereas the Korean students are given English names while studying at SEV, the Russian kids kept their own names. They're fairly basic -- Andrey, Antony, Katja, etc. 

One of the students is named Igor. As soon as I saw it on the list, I knew I was in trouble. Why?

Because all I could think of was Igor from Young Frankenstein and it dawned on me that I had no idea whether the name was properly pronounced EYE-gore or EE-gore. And then, naturally, I said it wrong. Oops!

As if to clarify, Igor held up his name tag so I could clearly see what it said, but of course that didn't help. Instead I just nodded, smiled and continued taking attendance.

Ah, well, you can't win 'em all.