Category Archives: Kids

Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 3

The last two days have been busy with various medical appointments for Arthur, my uncle, but I took some time to get the last of my "student goodbyes" organized. These are just scans of papers they made for me – … Continue reading

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Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 2

Here are some more goodbye messages I have received from students. It being currently 4 AM in Oregon, and feeling wide awake from jetlag, I decided to make this post. Firstly, my student Jun Hui, 7th grade, gave me this … Continue reading

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Caveat: Student Goodbyes, Part 1

I didn't make it an official homework assignment, but I told my students I would welcome thoughtful goodbye messages. Mostly the elementary kids wrote on paper, while the middle schoolers wrote me emails. I will scan the handwritten messages tomorrow … Continue reading

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Caveat: Farewell Dinner with the Keum Clan

My friend and boss, Mr Keum (Curt) and some of his extended family invited me to dinner last night. We went to a place we've gone before – in fact, I went there with my mom and Curt's family in … Continue reading

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Caveat: I’m an apostrophe

As mentioned before, we have this thing at Karma called "CC" class – a somewhat opaque name for what are essentially focused listening exercises using English-language pop songs. Mostly, these days, I can proudly say that my initiative to have the … Continue reading

Posted in Background Noise, Banalities & Journaling, Kids, Not My Poetry, Teaching & Methodology, The Wonders of Work | 1 Comment

Caveat: on the desirability (or not) of movement

I have a student named N__. Because the current "test prep period" for middle schoolers (colloquially called "내신") is just now ending, a lot of students are still absent, so much to N__'s dismay, she found herself stuck with me … Continue reading

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Caveat: well, whatever

Now that I have made my departure announcement "official" – by telling my students in my classes – and even putting it on facebook – I have to confront the ways people deal with the news. It's interesting seeing different … Continue reading

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Caveat: Today’s announcement

My sixth-grade student Seoeun raised her hand, yesterday, as if she had an urgent announcement. "Yes?" I prompted. "Today is today," she said gravely, and without hesitation. It was clearly something she'd planned out in her head, as one does … Continue reading

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Caveat: The best part of my family is…

We were doing short-speech responses to speaking questions. The question was, "Do you like your family, or not? What are the best and worst parts of your family?" 6th grader Jaehyeon, incorporating a very long pause as he groped for … Continue reading

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Caveat: A man who wears many hats

Today is the big show. It'll be a long day, but the end is in sight. The results will be what they are, and there's not much left to be done except just do the show. Last night my student … Continue reading

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Caveat: not such tall tales

"You know, it's just not right." – Yeoeun said, looking over at me wryly and shaking her head disconsolately. She put her hands on her hips, for emphasis. She's an 8th grade girl, who was standing and looking up at … Continue reading

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Caveat: 웃음조절장애

Sometimes my middle school students talk to me in Korean, even though they’re perfectly capable of expressing themselves in English. Partly, this is to indicate a different pragmatics: it shifts control of the discourse from me to them, since I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Banalities & Journaling, Kids, The Wonders of Work, 한국말을 배움 (Failing to Learn Korean) | 1 Comment

Caveat: What about alcohol?

Here is the Korean zeitgeist, as revealed in an offhanded comment by a sixth-grade girl who goes by Mindy: Sometimes alcohol is necessary. She said it in a chipper voice, as if conversationally stating the obvious. That would sum up … Continue reading

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Caveat: Thealligu +or wins

My 5th grade student John recently started at Karma. He has never studied English before, so in the context of Korean English education, he's a rather "late starter." It's hard to place him at a place like Karma, because classes … Continue reading

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Caveat: passing the buck

A 5th grade boy in a low-level class with other 5th grade boys managed a rather sophisticated exchange with me the other day. The exchange began when I asked, "Are you ready, Mark?" "Teacher, sorry. No," Mark complained. I said, … Continue reading

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Caveat: the evolution of feeling

Soyeon spoke to me today, after class ended. It had been one of the "CC" classes where I make the advanced middle-schoolers "teach" the class after preparing the materials, and I'd complimented her on having done a good job. She … Continue reading

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Caveat: hey, he’s kinda cute

Yeoeun is an eighth grader. Like many eighth-grade girls, she's a bit boy-crazy. The other day in class, she said, "Sometimes you think someone is just normal looking and then you look again and you think he's cute." I answered, … Continue reading

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Caveat: my banggwang is endless

Most students play around during the short breaks between class periods. Then, when the second bell rings, they ask earnestly if they can run to restroom. This is perfectly rational: they want to maximize their fun-with-friends time and minimize the … Continue reading

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Caveat: Mr Butts

I present my student Mark's composition, with excellent accompanying illustration, without extensive comment. I only will suggest: 11 year old boys all over the world may have some similar interests and obsessions. Meanwhile, what I'm listening to right now. Béla … Continue reading

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Caveat: The worst possible gift

The below is paraphrased, because the level of English is a bit lower than is easy to quote directly – there are a lot of re-phrasings and "do you know what I mean?" from me, and from the student, a … Continue reading

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