Back To School

School Days are back and man, it is great. The biggest change being in school is acting like a teacher as opposed to the student I have been often for the past 28 years.

step into my office...
step into my office…



It’s very hard not to behave the way I want to. When you do something and you immediately see kids follow your lead, it’s weird. When I say “Yo!” to get someone’s attention, the boys all start yelling YO!!!!!! I had an incident where i broke my classroom door and i said (under my breath) “shit!” and it was pure hysteria with around 15 to 20 teens bouncing off the walls saying SHIT SHIT SHIT!!! I noticed this phenomenon on my first day when I went into school like Chuck Norris on some vengeance type shit. I was not gonna take any guff. So, I figured if I went in like a mercenary, I could become more lax later on. So, when I first started teaching, I went off on every boy in every class for every little thing. If I saw you giggle out of the corner of my eye, I was going to rip you to shreds. When i would yell at someone, the whole class would start screaming at him. Strange..However, this did not put fear in the hearts of the guys. Instead, they started to think I am a dick. So, that was a peculiar problem. I wondered how to keep these pirhanas disguised as little kids from tearing my flesh up, chewing me up and spitting me out. At the same time, I wanted them to like me. Hmmm, there had to be a middle ground…So, I learned that yelling and screaming isn’t working for me. It works in that they keep quiet but it doesn’t because they lose all enthusiasm or josh if you know what i mean.That is something i have to tinker with.

The one common goal with all my students is that they want to be rich and successful, when i ask them what jobs they want when they graduate, the most common answer I get is CEO. ( The other answers are usually singer, dancer, and drummer. I usually like those guys better) So..I began earnestly one day.. “I know many of you want to be CEOs and head your own companies…Do you know who this is? (I point at a slide of Yong Nam ,CEO of LG) This man is the CEO of LG (They are crazy abt cell phones so they go crazy that a korean man is CEO), Yong Nam says that the most important thing for Korean students today is to learn English! Do you understand now? Is it sinking in how much English can help you?”



Silence. Then, a hand goes up. ( Yes ! !


“Yes. Tell Me.”


“TEACHER, DO YOU LIKE SEXY LADY!!??? I LIKE!!” (and he kind of swivels his torso in a way that is more like he is trying to keep an invisible hula hoop going than a suggestion of anything sexual)


I  giggled and just moved on. Yong Nam would not be the answer.


I teach 7th, 8th and 9th grades so each class is quite different. Contrary to what I believed, it seems the younger the class, the easier it is to get them interested. The reason being, my ninth graders are going to graduate in 6 months anyway so they must wonder who this jolly brown giant is trying to harass them for their swan song..

 It’s justifiable that they don’t care seeing as how nobody really cared too much about teaching them English their first two and a half years at the school.


However, as a result, the 9th graders think they are too cool for school. These guys came in my first day and around four of them just put their heads against the back wall and went to sleep. They do not speak one word of english. Hence, it is awkward because i cannot really ask them to take part in group activities without everyone else laughing at them. The rest of the english department says to let it go, that it’s too late for them. Still, I cannot imagine letting them snooze for 6 months. That is another puzzle i have to solve. I actually care a lot because i like them and it’s probably because they don’t give a crap. They sort of remind me of me except there is one big difference. When a teacher yelled at me or even singled me out and this is through grade school, high school and even college, I usually held a grudge against that teacher for a loooooong time. If they saw me the week they dissed me, I would grill them so hard that they knew i wouldn’t whizz on them if they were on fire. But, my boys here, I will absolutely go off on them, make them stand against the wall (hahaha), if they are talkin, i’ll make them read even if they CAN’T read . That actually makes me feel bad but I told them if you won’t or can’t read, you should keep quiet and listen in class. Obviously, they still don’t keep quiet for two seconds. After all this, i see these guys five minutes later in the hallways and they are all smiles, there is this one guy who i usually yell at all class long and last week I didn’t want to see him cos i felt a little guilty. I ran into this dude on our class field trip to Lotte World (the Korean Disneyland) and of course all the bad ass kids are hanging out in the most fun place. While all the good kids were on rides, these dudes go to the gun range and proceed to spend all their cash tryin to shoot dolls off of pedestals. Obviously, I joined them. (I got 3 shots thus earning street cred w the Dongam bad boys)

guns blazing
guns blazing


 So, then i saw my arch-nemesis and he comes up to me and starts offering me a beef skewer and it was not even poisoned or anything. He just realizes when I am going off on him I’m doing my job. I give him and all of them  props because thats very mature and something I probably only understood in the past 3 years or so…Actually, i always understood that but was unable to not take things personally.


So..teaching has been really cool in the way that it’s rewarding when kids care and also you learn something about yourself every week. The funniest thing is i still think of school from the perspective of a student. The biggest pain for me is hanging out with staff members instead of chillin with the students. When the lunch bell rings, I instintively walk out to the field to see what’s poppin.

lunch meeting
lunch meeting


But, then the English Department and my co-teachers always want to talk and they feel like they are not being inclusive and friendly if they don’t bring me to lunch with them. So, I sit in the cafeteria laughing at jokes I’m not too sure about and looking pensive when getting advice I’m not sure I understand and sometimes I just don’t agree with. It’s me…being a teacher is great but being a student is where it’s at…at least then, when people make bad jokes, you can just slap them in the back of the head and that’s always funny.

4 responses to “Back To School”

  1. haha another great post. Keep them coming! Too cool for school..that was so you back in VNS.

    That chap in your class sounds like Kedia. You didn’t really eat that beef skewer did you??

  2. Really enjoyed this post 007.

    Cannot believe that you are now a teacher – but I think you will be a great one because you were one of those bad ass kids! I can just imagine you preferring the wannabe drummers to the CEOs…

    Thought it was interesting how you acknowledged that these kids are so much more mature than you were.

    Waiting to read more school stories…

  3. Whats up Seoul Man? Sounds like you’re really enjoying your time in Korea. Even tho it seems that you may not be getting through to all of them, its time to Stand & Deliver. How must i reeeeeach theeeeeeese kiiiiids?? Anyway man, enjoy the school year and keep us posted. You’re the official PC-Bang-alore.



  4. There’s not a place in the world that has more buzz than a middle school at lunch break. Skip the teacher lounge lunches and teach them a thing or two about floor (table) tennis!

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