Friday, March 11, 2011

A children's story

Teaching fives (and remember, that's Korean age five, so in the real world, they're three and a half to four) is very different from teaching sixes. My sixes could read and write, and I spent much of my time encouraging them to write hilarious stories or teaching them unnecessarily complex vocabulary words just to amuse myself. Now that I'm in the tiny class, however, things are drastically different. We spend a lot of time - and I mean a LOT of time - practicing holding pencils and getting them to successfully make marks on paper.

I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was so not made to be a kindergarten teacher. I'm not at all going to quit, and I (probably) won't end up killing any of them, but it's really not my cup of tea. I've been dealing with a lot of guilt about that lately, like there's something wrong with me since singing the ABC's a thousand times a day makes me want to punch a wall. I talked with Tiffany about this, and she's been trying to convince me that it's completely okay for this to not be my passion. When I talk about Hamlet and Macbeth, her eyes glaze over, and I'm pretty sure someone would end up in the hospital if you made her teach anyone over the age of seven. Tiffany loves teaching kindergarten, and I really don't, but it's okay. Just like it's okay that I desperately want to be in a high school classroom while Tiff would end up murdering them. If we all wanted to be kindergarten teachers, the world would be an educationally stifled, albeit colorful, place.

One thing I've been enjoying in my new curriculum is the fairy tales. Granted, I've only done one, but it was the most morbidly hilarious fable I've ever presented to a batch of toddlers. While I have your attention, I'd like to retell this story for you. Get some popcorn.

Once upon a time, there was a turtle in the sea. He wanted very much to fly in the air above the trees and houses and people, so he crawled up on shore to find an eagle to help him fly. When he found an eagle, he asked her to please teach him how to fly. The eagle replied that turtles cannot fly and that he should return to the sea, but the turtle would not relent. He wanted to fly. He asked the eagle to carry him in her talons while she flew in the air so he could see the world from the sky. The eagle didn't want to carry him because she was afraid he would fall, but the turtle promised that he would hold on very tight. The eagle, against her better judgment, grabbed hold of the turtle and soared into the air. The flight was exhilarating! The turtle could see for miles and miles, but he wanted to go higher. The eagle told the turtle it would not be safe to fly higher into the clouds, but the turtle was a manipulative little jerk and he convinced the eagle to go higher. As they flew higher and higher, the turtle decided he could probably fly on his own, and he asked the eagle to release him. The eagle refused. Either the turtle was quite persuasive, or the eagle was quite dumb; either way, the turtle assured the eagle he would be fine, so she dropped him. He flapped his little arms for a few seconds before realizing (shocker!) that he was actually just falling. He twisted and turned in the air, but he just couldn't stop the force of gravity. Although they had been flying peacefully above the ocean, the turtle managed to smash into a rock, and his shell exploded into a thousand pieces. He, of course, died.

The moral of our lovely tale? Know your limits.

No, I'm not kidding. Nothing like a little dose of reality to destroy little imaginations. I followed the lesson by telling them that Santa Claus is actually a pedophile because, hey, they needed to have every ounce of joy squeezed out of them.

The best (and when I say "best," I mean "WTF Korea?!") part of this lesson was that after I read them the story in a picture book, they were then blessed with the opportunity to watch the video. My little serial killers thought the graphic death was hysterical both times. Should I be worried?

The three main characters in the story were the turtle, the eagle, and a fish who had the unfortunate luck of witnessing the turtle shattering his shell on the rocks. I asked the kids to copy the animal names into their notebooks then draw a picture of one. Here's Sarah's rendition of (what else?) the death scene.

I can only assume that pink thing is his brain flying out of his head. 
And, yes, I know it says "furfle" but seriously - she's not even four yet.

After they all had drawn pictures, I asked them to come up to the front of the room to explain their drawings to the class. Basically I just said words and they repeated them, but we're learning. I asked them to repeat the names of the animals (turtle - eagle - fish), and Irene, well, kind of did that.

You're not hearing that wrong; she's saying turtle - eagle - bitch. Not quite what I had in mind.

The new littles may not be Brian, but it's looking like I'll still have some great stories to tell.


  1. Loved it! Actually, that drawing is very good and pretty advanced. I had to teach my kids not to "scribble, scrabble" which is a word that they loved and I bet you don't even know. Shakespeare probably never used the way I just spelled Shakespeare wrong and spell check had to help me out. Additionally, I almost fell asleep while typing his long and boring name. :)

  2. hi! i've been sneakily reading for a while, i want to teach in seoul in 2013!
    i hope i get 3 year olds, i don't think i could handle older kids haha

  3. oh my WORD, friend. you usually succeed in the humor department, but this one made me laugh HYSTERICALLY. oh, Korea! ♥