Friday, March 26, 2010

Sit Down?

SCENE: The English classroom, during class change between second and third period. Most of my 6-5 class is already in the classroom, huddled in groups playing 공기, running in and out of the classroom and shouting at their friends - generally acting like children who just took a two hour test and are ready to have some fun, however briefly. Class hasn't started yet, so as long as they're not hitting each other or destroying my classroom, I don't care what they do.

RELEVANT LINGUISTIC INFORMATION: In Korean, if a ㅅ (/s/ - equivalent of an English 's') is followed by a 이 (/i/ or /i:/ - romanized as an 'i' and the equivalent of the 'ee' in meek), the 's' sound becomes a 'sh' (/ɕ/). For example, the Silla dynasty is pronounced Shilla. Some of you have probably already guessed where this story is going.

So, one of my sixth grade boys who isn't the brightest kid, but is hilarious and outgoing and good at expressing himself regardless of linguistic barriers and, just to complete the mental picture, super tiny and wearing a bright pink hoodie, walks into class, sees his classmates going crazy around me and decides to restore order.

"SIT DOWN!" he yells, a command my students have heard me say plenty of times, only what he actually says is, "SHIT DOWN!"

"SHIT DOWN, SHIT DOWN, SHIT DOWN!" he shouts at each group of students milling about, while I stand at the front of the class and bite my lip so hard I can still feel the teeth marks hours later in an attempt not to laugh.

Some days, I really love being a teacher!

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