I had an interesting experience yesterday with two of my monkeys. One that didn’t end well for them.
On Wednesday, my first class is reduced from 5 to 2, since 3 of the students have conflicting schedules (they come on Tuesdays to make up the day). My remaining two students are two girls, who just happen to be best friends.
I’ve taught E since I arrived in November. She is sweet and kind and a hard working student. Her best friend L started a few months ago, and this is only her second month at this level. She joined the class in the beginning of May and E was so happy to have her there.
I was not.
L is rude, and combative. She refuses to speak in English, and when I ask her to answer a question, she will turn to E and have E translate it into Korean. Every day when we do our opening questions, which have been the same for the last three months, she looks at me like I have 5 heads and then tells E she has never answered the questions before and doesn’t understand. Which is a lie since we do this 3 times a week. Then E will feed her answers in English to repeat. She plays on her phone, doesn’t do the work in the book, talks back to me, talks about me to E in Korean, copies off E’s book. Pretty much a horrible student. And now she is dragging E into her bad behaviour.
Yesterday, since it was just the two of them, I have them sit in the front row, where I can roll on my office chair from the computer, over to in front of them (it’s a listening book so I have to play the cd for every activity). Since it’s just the two of them, I don’t write the answers on the board, I just hold up my book in front of them and then they copy the correct answers out of the book (after they have attempted the answer of course). Last week, L decided to spend the whole class making fun of my face – when I look down and over the book, I get a double chin (of course, pretty much everyone would) so she spent the whole class talking in Korean about that.
Yesterday, she was telling me that E was saying I was ugly. Which is something that L says all the time about other students. I really don’t care, they can think I’m ugly all they want – and by Korean standards I guess I am. I’m fat and have LOTS of freckles, have a mole on my cheek and wear glasses. All bad things. But my pasty white skin does make up for a little bit of that.
They both know that I am starting to read Korean, so L has started saying “Teacher, shibar, shibar teacher” which I have no idea what she means (and she knows it). She just laughs and keeps saying it. She’s written it down like this 시발 and wants me to practice it, but I make no time for her in my class and just ignore her.
Finally, after class yesterday, I was getting some water and I decided to ask what it meant. I walked over to the receptionist and asked, in my normal voice “what does shibar mean?” and she had the look of utter shock on her face, leans in close and whispers “shibar?”
Since she’s whispering, I lean in and whisper “yea..shibar? Why is it bad?” She has me ask her who I heard it from, and E and L were just walking back in from the bathroom at that moment. I point them out, the receptionist calls my boss, the director, he pulls them into his office and shuts the door….for 5 solid minutes….
Now I am feeling like OMG what does it mean?! She says it basically means “fuck you”, while another teacher says it just means “fuck”. I googled it (thankfully I can spell now a little in Korean and was able to type in the Korean characters for it) and google, for half a second, translated it as “f*ck” (with the *) and then reverted to “city”.
So I ended up learning my first Korean swear word, and L ended up getting in trouble. I’m a little sad that E was pulled along into it, but oh wells. Hopefully L will start to be a little more respectful from now on…I doubt it, but one can hope!