Very happy to state that all the English speaking tests at my school are now done. It was a pretty monotonous two and half weeks, of trying to cram all 30ish kids into the 45 minute time slot that I had. Niceties were done away with after the first class and it became a very quick, choose three, answer them and off you go. There were some pretty hilarious students that stood out over the repetition of faces I saw, I’ll highlight a few of the best.

“Okay, so we’ve got questions 2,5 and 9. So question number…”

“Two This is my friend Mina Mina this is my teacher Toby Five How about going camping this weekend Don’t forget to bring a tent Nine Did you know I can eat five hamburgers in one sitting without being sick.” And breathe.

“Well that was good, but you’ve got to let me ask each question. So let’s just repeat that one at a time”.

That was the most extreme example of question learning. For a large number of students though I could see them listen to the number of the question, but not actually focus when I asked them the question. They’d already drilled into their mind the response to the number and that was it.

“Hello, Toby teacher”

“Hi, 호진. Can you choose three chopsticks for me please.”

Student chooses three sticks and raises her other hand to cover her eyes.

“Okay, we’ve got numbers 5,6 and 8. 호진 what’s with the hand?”

“No face Toby teacher, no faceeeeeeee.”

Student proceeds to do test with eyes covered, scores 100%, evidently a good tactic.

“Ah Toby teacher. So nervous.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll be great.”

“Okay. Questions 1,2 and 3.”

“You have to choose the chopsticks. You know the test is random.”

“No teacher, you choose.”

“Nope, got to be you, same for everyone.”

Chooses three. Very Slowly. 3,5,6.

“Teacher, not fair! Let me choose again.”

“Nope. Now let’s start with number 3.”

The student still scored an A or a B I can’t remember exactly, but it wasn’t the first three that they’d memorised perfectly I’m sure.

We then had from the weakest students who also had zero interest in learning English giving the answer:

“모르겠어” (mo-ruh-gess-eo) – I don’t know. To every question.

To the strongest students who would want to rattle on for as long as I’d allow for each question. One giving me an ordinal list of how he will achieve what he wants to be in the future.

The most satisfying tests were ones where students would shake their head or just say no to a question so I’d skip over it then come back to it at the end when they’d given okay answers to the other ones. By repeating the question slowly and forcing them to think about it for a bit by not accepting their “no” as an answer they’d often be able to get out enough English for me to give them some marks, which could take them up a whole grade boundary.

The students have all their written finals next week. So I’m either teaching review classes at the moment or finishing up the final topic. There’s only two weeks of term left until the summer break after that in which I think I’m just doing fun lessons, not really sure, I’ll probably find out the morning of knowing Korea. Then it’s just three half days of summer camp and I’m done teaching until late August.

This first term has gone so insanely fast. I know I say that an awful lot, but it is true. I wonder if by this time next year and I’m still living here in Daegu, things will have seemed to slow down a bit. Yes for those of you who read to the end of my blogs, I’m 99% re-signing to teach again here next year. Taking my time in Korea until February 2018! I’m currently planning to head to the Philippines next January for some winter sun and snorkeling with whale sharks, so if that sounds like you, shoot me a message and come find me in the tropics.