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Overheard In My Classroom

9 May

I imagine every job requires one to say ridiculous things. (examples off the top of my head: bikini-waxers, TSA agents, therapists)  But  naturally, I like to think that teaching kindergarten trumps them all.  Below are various comments and absurd things I’ve said in the last month.  Please keep in mind that I get paid for this.

-“You can’t play with the magnets until you wipe the cake off your feet.”

-“…and that’s why we don’t stand on the chairs.  Hold on, I’ll get you a band-aid.”

-“How many times have I told you not to practice taekwondo in class?”

-“Hands out of your pants/fingers out of your nose/crayons out of your mouth.”

-“If one more person falls out of their chair today, I’m taking a sticker.”

-“If we can’t do the Hokey Pokey without kicking each other, then we just aren’t going to do it anymore.”

-“Please stop cheating. It’s musical chairs.”

-“You guys our classroom smells like feet again.”

-“Did you forget to bring your ears to show-and-tell? Because that question has been asked three times already.”

-“OK raise your hand if you did not get a turn during Duck, Duck, Goose.”

-“No, I will not give you some of my coffee.”

-“Please stop trying to take my earrings out.”

-“You’re right, if a person breaks their neck, they can’t move their arms or legs, but they can still think…..Yes, that means they can still think about stars and stuff.”

-“The Easter Bunny is as real as Santa Claus.”

-“Girl spiders lay eggs after they get married.”

-“You brought your pet turtles for show-and-tell?!”

-“If you pop your balloon, I’m not giving you another one.”

-“I’m wearing my Hello Kitty socks too!”

-“Stop speaking Korean…no, that doesn’t mean you can speak Chinese instead.”

-“Please stop crawling. We walk in the classroom.”

-“Oh really? Someone in your class was eaten by a crocodile at the zoo today?”

-“That’s it. Go sit in the Thinking Chair.”

And let’s not forget this little gem that one of my students said to me today:

“I really like your face. But your hair looks like my mom’s.”

Then she walked away.



Today I’m thankful for the cheap, clean, safe, and reliable public transportation in Korea. Because us poor people have places to go too. And because it’s really nice to listen to music while someone else does all the work.


The Problem With Being the World’s Best Teacher. . .

3 Jul

. . . is that your students will become so smart and so comfortable with speaking English, that they will morph into total smartasses.  AKA I’m reaping what I sow:

Repressed Teenage Angst

Q: What would you ask your mom, if you could ask anything and not get in trouble?

A: “Why are you not good at cooking?”

Q: Okaaaay, what would you ask your middle school teacher if you wouldn’t get in trouble for it?

A: “Why are you not good at teaching?”

When an 8-year-old troublemaker turns into a creepy Frenchmen:

Q: Okay, make the sentence “You are walking” into a question.

A: “. . . you are walkiiiinnnnggg??”

Dammit Kenneth, the answer was “Are you walking?”

While preparing for open class, in which their parents observe my class and scare the shit out of me:

Q: “Okay, why is this story so important?”

A: “Uh, because it’s for our open class.”

Yes, smartass that is why it’s important, but just for that remark I will shame you in front of your mother.


Q: What can you see at the Korean Folk Village?

A: “What can’t you see at the Korean Folk Village?”


Honest mistakes by not-yet-jaded children:

Vocab word: fluttered

“My work shit fluttered in the wind.”

While that sounds like quite the predicament, I’m fairly certain you meant shirt there, Tara.

Vocab word: snuggle

“I snuggle with the Earth.”

Prove it.  Somebody has an early God-complex.

Vocab word: gasped

“I gasped! Oh my god, it’s an ugly person!”

Well sorry to say Jina, but you’re going to have quite the rude awakening if you ever leave Korea. Rude.


You just got Sanduped: The Test Heard Round the World

Sandy is a very young student in my friend Ashley’s class.  Her latest test has provided nearly a month’s worth of jokes.  It all started when she wrote her name as Sandu on the test, leading to the now infamous phrase, “You’ve just been Sanduped.” A few gems from her answers:

Q: “Are you a boy?”

A: “No, I’m a yes.”

Q: “Is this an umbrella?”

A: “Friend, it is.”

When shown a picture of a chair:

A: “He is a student.”


A mad-libs enhanced first try at poetry:

Venus flytraps are green,

Cobras are blue,

You are very normal,

And I love you.


A very wise, and mysterious kindergartener:

Q: “What do you think is in a pyramid?”

A: “What’s in a pyramid? Power.

Well-played Charlie, well-played.


And now back to the smartasses, who can’t stop talking about poop, despite my repeated threats of lasting psychological harm:

Vocab word: Place

A: “Please don’t poo in this place.  I’m eating dinner.”

Vocab word: Position

A: “I position Claire Teacher in the toilet.”

Q: “What’s one problem with having pets?”

A: “They could poo on your face?”


Things I may or may not have been overheard saying in my classroom:

“My last class was a ZOO, and now you’ve just become the CIRCUS.  What a TREAT for me.”

When discussing making difficult decisions, and the class erupts into a flurry of Korean:

“My next decision is going to be which one of you to hit first, and trust me, it won’t be that difficult.”  (then they just laughed at me for about 5 minutes – which is why I actually love this class)

Common class responses to the question, “What does Claire Teacher always say?”:

“Don’t be a lazybones!”

“I don’t caaaaarrrrrreeeeee.”

“Really?!  REALLY?!”

“You’re killing me (insert student’s name here).  You.Are.Killing.Me.”



Fun at a Child’s Expense

19 Mar

For your amusement, this week’s class quotes:

Question: What are you most afraid of?

Boy 1: “My mother.”

Boy 2: “My homework.”

Question: What is something interesting about you?

Girl: “An interesting thing about me, is that my friends say I look like a squirrel.”


A random interruption during class:

Girl: “Teacha, my stomach hurts. It’s like . . . bubbling.”


After discussing a story in which the main character is deaf and attended a school for deaf children:

Question: What do you think her school was like?

Boy: “Quiet?”


While looking at a picture of a man offering a bouquet of flowers to a woman, the children were asked to make up their own dialogue:

Boy: “The man is saying ‘I love you.’  Then the woman says ‘But I’m a boy.’ “


During a rather heated debate class:

Girl: “Do you really think that was a good question to ask?”

Boy: “Yes. Because I said so.”

Girl: “Oh really? And who are you?!


When discussing how it is difficult to tell if Korean women are married because they don’t wear rings:

Boy: “Is. . . *Ella teacha married?”

*(editor’s note: a beautiful Korean teacher in our school)

Me: “No.  Wait, why are you asking that?”

Boy: “I don’t know!” (he then looked down at his paper and blushed for the next 5 minutes)


And lastly, a game of hangman that just wouldn’t end:

Me: “OK Kai, the class isn’t going to guess the word, so just tell us what it is.”

He then writes the word instroduction.

Me: “Well Kai, they didn’t guess it. . . because that’s not a word.”

Kai: “Yes it is. You know, instroduction.”

He then proceeded to argue with me about the word’s existence for the next 2 minutes before I finally told him that if he found the word in a book I would give him 20 stickers.

. . . He never did get those 20 stickers.


Have a good weekend y’all!

Back to School

21 Feb

Now that our new school schedule is out, classes have started in full force.  Here’s a few choice quotes to kick off the week:

After reading about Martin Luther King Jr.:

Student: “So teacher, in the 1930’s, you only played with other white children?”

Me: “No, James. I wasn’t alive in the 1930’s.  That would make me more than 80 years old.”

Student: (Blank look)

Me: (sigh) “Ok, fine. Yes, in the 1930’s I could only play with other white children and I was very sad.”

Student: Nods head and looks satisfied.

From a book report:

“In the old days, people didn’t have toilets. So they dug a hole in the ground for their poo. Then in Rome, people made public baths. This was very fun. Because now people could talk to their friends while they pooed.”

During our debate class, this week’s topic being anorexia:

Me: “Can boys get married if they’re fat?”

Student: “Yes! My dad is fat. Because my mom likes fat boys!”

And lastly, an image of Cla Teacha losing her damn mind:

Student: “Teacher, I didn’t bring my books.  And I don’t have a pencil.”

Me: “You didn’t bring anything? You realize you’re at school right?  OK, who can give him a pencil to borrow?”

Students: No answers, eyes shifting suspiciously

Me: “OK who else forgot their pencil today?”

4/7 students raise their hands: Please keep in mind this is one of my most advanced classes and on a random Thursday, more than 50% of them forgot to even bring something to write with.

I promptly threw down my pen and walked out of the class.

I hope your job is equally fulfilling and hilarious – have a wonderful work week!

Let There Be Light

12 Jan

Despite the fact that it has been snowing all day at a rather alarming pace, good things are happening.  Oh so slowly, but surely, they are happening.

The first Good Thing?

One of my students did her book report on “The Little Mermaid.” And what came out of the woodwork pray tell?  Why a budding mini feminist. This quite literally made my day. I first laughed so hard I cried. Then I read my student’s spot-on opinion of Little Mermaid to the entire faculty room:

“I think she was very stupid. Because we can write letters and we can give and take reciprocally! I think Mermaid is so poor. Because she wants to get love, so she lost her family, her voice, her friends, and even her life. . . I want to fight with that Prince.”

Preach on little sister, preach on.


Down with the patriarchal machine! Down with . . . Hans Christian Andersen?




Oh and the second Good Thing?  I just booked my plane ticket for Lunar New Year.

I’m going here:


Note: This is an actual picture of paradise. It was not retouched to make you jealous.


Meet Boracay, an island in the Philippines. Famous for its White Beach by day and clubs/bars/restaurants by night. Hi Boracay, my name is Cla Teacha, and I believe we will get along swimmingly.

But until Feb. 2, we shall play the waiting game. . . and hope that creative, opinionated students are encouraged to keep being just that.

Happy snow shoveling, y’all.

Blame Yourselves

8 Dec

This is out of my hands.

Y’all are obsessed with my students and their unintentional hilarity.  Don’t worry, I totally understand – I laugh at them 5 days a week. They are pushing me to be a funnier person, and I appreciate that.

So here you go, vultures, have some fun at a child’s expense:

Test Question: What is your favorite food?

Answer: “My favorite food is spaghetti.  It is soft and warm. But sometimes it is greedy.”

Test Question: What would you wear to a fancy dinner?

Answer (from a 13 year-old boy, with a straight face): “I would wear black skinny’s, black shirt, bomb hair, glasses, and *kill heels. They are for girls, but they make me look taller.”

*What Koreans call stilettos.

Vocab word: Dash

Sentence: “I run to the bathroom to make a dash.”

Vocab word: Vibrate

Sentence: “I was vibrating during the English presentation.”

Vocab word: Breed

Sentence: “My mom’s breed is me.”

Vocab word: Favorite

Sentence: “My favorite people is my parents. because they gave me a birth. And they like me.”

Writing Prompt: What will your life be like in the future?

Answer: “I will read an electronic book in my space house.  And my robot will help me a lot too.”

Answer: “I want to be an actor. Like Harry Potter.”

Writing Prompt: Tell me about your personal style

Answer: “I don’t like skirts, because I’m a little chubby. But I’m not a total breakdown. I have better fashion sense than my mom. I hope my mom doesn’t read my journal.”

Book reports:

1. (This would be totally racist, if it wasn’t written by a small Korean child): “Winnie’s house and cat were all black. Winnie was black too. And that is how all the trouble started.”

2. “At first I thought the dentist is trying to kill me with the tool. Now I know, he just cleans my teeth.”

Proof that the person who writes the listening book scripts is both passive aggressive and in a really bad marriage.

Example 1:

Woman: “Why are you so late?”

Man: “Sorry. I just had a bitter quarrel with my wife. She spends way too much money.”

Example 2:

Woman: “How about this shirt?”

Man: “Can I pick out my own clothes for once?!”

Woman: “Fine. Do whatever you want.”

And aside from my problems with the listening scripts, I also happen to loathe half of the speaking books I teach. One book in particular has put me in more than a few awkward situations with the kids. I happen to have 2 sections of this particular class, so I had the joy of explaining what diarrhea was to about 20 embarrassed pre-teens.

Why? Because our practice health dialogue went a little something like this:

Person 1: “What’s wrong? You don’t look so good.”

Person 2: “It’s because I have diarrhea.”

Cut to my favorite class (featured prominently in my Halloween post), who are obsessed with talking about all things gross, namely bodily functions. While trying to make me repeat bad words in Korean, they asked if I knew the word “diarrhea” in Korean. Due to my prior experience (see above), I did, in fact, know that word. Despite my knowledge of the subject, little James decided to help me understand and proceeded to run around the room, holding his butt and yelling “ IT’S WATER POOOOOOO!” as loud as he could.

But this kind of stuff happens to lots of adults at work, right?