Friday, March 05, 2010

The Marvelous Mr. Maybe

For whatever reason, I was told to go by my first name with students at the private schools where I've worked in the past. At this private school that's sort of public, I thought I'd make a clean break and go by my last name since, well, no one ever actually combines your first name with an honourific, with the possible exception of Richard Lionheart.

I was leery at first, even though it's relatively easy to pronounce for Koreans since there are no consonant clusters. That's because it translates roughly to "maybe". Combined with my first name, which sounds like "son", it's a great way of making kids laugh.

But, it went over well and now I get to teach in one of these imposing Korean public schools where each classroom has a large LCD TV but the playground is a well-groomed dirt lot that sometimes gets used for parking. The entire setup is very regimented and teaching here is a little bit like being an army officer directing around fresh young recruits.

The first morning, all the new teachers were asked to stand in the auditorium in front of all the new students, who stood in neat rows and snapped into attention when ordered to do so. Instead of crisp salutes from the students, the teachers gave deep bows instead, but the message and the intention were more or less the same.

Sometimes when I pace around the classroom listening to my students offer suggestions on reducing pollution (that one student defined pollution simply as "Seoul" is a problem), I look out the window and see matching tracksuit-clad gym students jogging around the playground with sagging form. When the rain came, I thought that it couldn't possibly dampen their spirit, or at least their spirit would not allowed to be dampened, but I was wrong. They screeched as the drizzle fell and ran into the nearest door they could find.

To anyone who caught the somewhat veiled Wes Anderson reference in the subject, send me your address to receive a free AWYHIGTC T-shirt.

8 comments:

andré said...

Do you really mean to "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"? I feel like I'm walking into a very large trap.

Adeel said...

Yeah. Props to Seadog for mentioning it in an email.

sasha said...

wes anderson (!). when did you become such a hipster?

Shan said...

I wouldn't consider it a true Wes Anderson reference since it's the adaptation of the Roald Dahl book of the same name.

Jennifer said...

The first thing I thought of was "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Not an alliteration-- and he was a serial killer.

I think I deserve a shirt for that.

andré said...

You don't deserve a shirt for having a brain that makes incorrect associations. My brain makes incorrect associations too, all of the time. Where's my shirt?

seongmin said...

hey, i realized u have a blog! i totally agree that our school's playgrouds are small.. our polititions didn't consider about "EDUCATION".

Adeel said...

It's not that they're small, well, that too, but that it's all dirt.