Tag Archives: teaching english

Lost in Translation – Funny Korean Signs

1 Oct

One of the things that keeps me smiling on an every-day basis is the abundance of hilarious English signs that line the streets, roads and parks of Korea. Be it signs that have a minor spelling mistake, Korean’s inability/refusal to use the letter “L”, or signs that most likely were translated in a poor mans version of Google Translate, they always put a smile on my face.

I can’t count the amount of times my friends and I have remarked, “Why don’t they ask a native English speaker to proof read their sign / brochure / menu before sending it to print?”. The answer is and may always remain…I have no freaking clue!

Maybe they think it’s too expensive or too much hassle, or as my boss pointed out, maybe they simply see English words as “pictures” and don’t really care what the letters or words mean as long as they look pretty. Either way, I need to stop complaining, as they give me endless entertainment on usually long, boring days. :D

So, which is your favourite?! 

shit house

cat cafe hongdae fuckfake

funny korean english sign

funny mens waxing image

funny sign korea

no riding dolphins

lost in translation konglish

 

Related post: Korean Love Couples (..and their matching clothes!)

Ireland, as drawn by Korean Kids

12 Sep

My first class of the day is with 2 very cute Korean brothers who come to me simply to improve their English conversation skills and to expose them to a native English speaker. They will be moving to China soon as their father’s got transferred there for work and they will be attending an International school. As one boy is 6 and the other is 8, with very different levels of English (think very, very basic!!) an hour long class can be quite difficult to plan.

I have quite a lot of leeway in what I teach them, so last week each day we would learn about a different country. I had great fun teaching them all about Ireland and teaching them some traditional Irish songs. When we were finished I asked them to make a poster that represented Ireland and below is what they drew. I have to say I LOVE their version of Saint Patrick and that they think he led the ‘snacks’ out of Ireland! Plus the fact that they drew Guinness as ‘Black Beer!’ is priceless. Kids are just the cutest.

20130826_144931

20130826_145316

20130826_144938 20130826_145215

20130826_145235

20130826_145248

 

CouchSurfing in Korea can get you FIRED

29 Jul

This is just a quick post on Couchsurfing in Korea that I wanted to share, just to warn others of the potential dangers of couchsurfing in Korea. Most people who put “couchsurfing” and “dangerous” in the same sentence are referring to the dangers of hosting a complete stranger in your home. The dangers of meeting complete strangers, on the internet, then meeting in a public place, and taking them home as if they were a friend and letting them sleep on your couch / spare bedroom / floor mat..whatever. Having hosted 100′s of couchsurfers and surfed on 5 continents, I can confidently say I have never had any truly negative experience, have never felt threatened, never had anything stolen and have also walked away from the experience with a smile on my face and amazing memories and new friends.

Until today I thought Couchsurfing could work anywhere but having been in Korea one week, I can see that in certain cultures, and in certain countries, it may be more of a hindrance than a help. Why?? Well, check out the letter, below, which my friend received from the principal of her school following a few weeks hosting people in her city South of Seoul…. I doubt she will be hosting anymore. :( Oh Korea.

fired-job-loss
Statement of Civil Complaint 

Last Friday (7/19) evening, I got a phone call from vice principle Kang. It was your civil complain *sic* from parents of our school students. That person told about your behavior that you are inviting many men to your house and they came out in the morning from your house. It cause *sic* neighbor inconvenience. And that person also said to the vice principle, they already asked you to stop that but you didn’t change. Your neighbors already know that YOU are BLANK Elementary School TEACHER and they think that your behavior is not appropriate for teacher’s attitude as well as not good for your young students who live around your house. At the end of the complain, *sic* that person told that BLANK Elementary school hired unsuitable person for teacher. 

I already told about your ‘Couchsurfing’ to principle and vice principles but they are disappointed with the fact, many men came out in the morning from the teacher’s house which is rented by budget of korean civil’s tax, and they want to change your attitude as a TEACHER IN KOREA. 

As American way of thought, you may think that is invasion of privacy. But you are employee of Korea national educational institution. And Koreans expect you to comply with Korean culture. In this country, if you give an impression behind on student’s parents *sic* that you look to be sexually promiscuous as teacher, *sic* then you can be a target of criticism whether actually happened or not. So your behavior that conflict with Korean culture caused your neighbor’s civil complaint. Furthermore, this complain *sic* is regarded as our school hired inappropriate person for teacher. Consequently, you caused the complain to school and violated a contract article 19-1. So we will issue warning letter. 

Article 19 (Codes of Conduct) 
1. The Employee shall not behave in any manner which may damage or tarnish the reputation of the teaching profession in general or of the GEPIK program and the undersigned Employee in particular during the Term of Employment. 
If you do not change your behavior and attitude with this complain, *sic* other complains will come to school and education office. That will make us issue another warning letter and finally we will reconsider about the contract with you.

Dear Diary- Hello Kenya

22 Dec

This is the start of a new series of posts that I am going to copy word for word from an old travel diary I found in my bedroom. Reading back I was not the most sensitive person and my creative writing could have done with some (a lot) of tweaking!! But hopefully you will enjoy the naive honesty of a 20 years old backpacker with big dreams!

Dear Diary,

WOW. It’s hard to believe I’m actually here in Kenya. In Africa. Only a few hours on a plane and one enters a completely different world. After the hectic experience of Heathrow airport and nearly getting lost, Nairobi Jomo Kenyetta was a breeze. All those stories of muggings and hawkers, crooked airport staff and pushy taxi drivers seems to be a myth. Or else we just got lucky.

Father Tom from St Patrick’s Missions picked us up at the airport and we were given a second breakfast before been whizzed down town by Joseph, their driver, to sort out our bus tickets to Kitale the next day. Passing by hawkers selling everything from Mangos to puppies, children begging in traffic, a foot-less leper on the roadside. From the lush suburbs inhabited by rich diplomats from around the world and foreign aid organizations and missionary compounds to the slums, an endless menage of aluminium shacks, make shift hairdressers, sweet shops, shoe shiners, car washers, wood cutters. People cleaning themselves alongside the road in ditches full of thick brown, muddy water. It was all so overwhelming for our fist day in Kenya.

We were given a huge lunch and dinner best food ever; potatoes,kidney beans, soup, bread, pizza, porridge.

We have been laughed at many times today by the other priests and local at any mention of ‘Lodwar’, the place we are going to teach. “Bring sunscreen” one said with a laugh. I guess they know best, they have lived here for 9 years!

Welcome to Kenya!

Missing my Kiddies

9 Nov

Having left Korea and all my adorable students over 3 months ago, I’m actually starting to miss the annoying,little critters!

Ah no, I loved them all, I really did and I often wonder how they are getting along and what funny things they are writing or talking about with their new teacher. My year teaching in Korea was one of the best years of my life, and the memories will stay with me forever.

Here are some photos of me with all my amazing students. I miss them, I really do.

Cosmetic Surgery in Korea

22 Jun

Cosmetic Surgery is hugely popular in Korea. Get on any bus or subway and you will adverts like the one below describing how you can change the shape of your nose, your eyes, the shape of your face, your bum, your breasts…you name it, they have it. Take a walk down the well-to-do neighborhood of Apujeong or Gangnam in Seoul and you can guarantee most of those beautiful women are 90% plastic. Most of these adverts imply that you will be more beautiful, more confident and attract richer men after cosmetic surgery, with advertisements often displaying large diamond rings, beautiful models, handsome boyfriends and sexy bikinis!

Having lived in Korea for 10 months now I thought I had seen and heard it all. From my friend’s co-teachers getting nose jobs to fellow teachers getting freckles removed and eyelids permanently tattooed with eyeliner, people getting laser hair removal, liposuction, stories of calf reductions and the always popular breast enlargements.

However, today I was left speechless. Today I was left feeling puzzled, confused and most of all sad at Koreans need for altering their appearance. One of my star students didn’t show up for class today so I asked her best friends why she was missing.

Me: ” Where is X today?”

Student: “Oh she went to the hospital”

Me: Oh no, what happened?”

Student: “Oh she is short but wants to be tall.”

Me: “Ok..but why is she gone to the HOSPITAL?!”

Student, (puzzled at my obvious stupidity!) “To get tall!”

The way she said it was so surprising to me. As if that’s a total normal thing. Oh yeah, you know, just popped down to the Doc’s to get stretched…” WHAT THE HELL! I actually would not have believed what I was hearing had it not been coming out of the mouth of one of my star students who has near fluent English. It took several more minutes for her to explain exactly what was going on as I stood there ta the front of the classroom speechless.

An older women getting surgery is one thing. Even younger women trying to enhance their facial features or obese people looking for liposuction but what kind of parent allows and even perhaps ENCOURAGES their 14 year old, beautiful, extremely talented and intelligent daughter to start a months long, excruciatingly painful procedure in order to lengthen her legs??? I really, really, REALLY hope she doesn’t go through with it. :(

                                                  

I think it’s BORING. BORING BORING BORING.

27 Apr attraction-native-american-dancers

Today was so unbelievably frustrating. All 3 teachers were teaching students adjectives to describe what they think of certain music, dancing or hobbies. From exciting, to graceful, from beautiful to difficult, it would seem only one adjective in particular caught on in every class…BORING. 

Korean students don’t exactly think for themselves and love to copy/borrow other peoples opinions, which I noticed on one of my first days teaching here. (Click here for the hilarious consequences) So considering the whole lesson today was based on, “What do you think of X? What do you think of Y?” I should have guessed it would be a flop.

When discussing various types of dances I decided to make the lesson more interesting by showing them some funny videos on you tube. For example this gem of “Stavros Flatley” from Britains Got Talent.

When it finshed I asked the class, so what do you think of this kind of dancing? Without even looking up from the pad they were all doodling on they replied in the same monotone one word anser they had been using for the whole lesson..BORING.

I showed them Riverdance…the legendary Riverdance with Michael Flatley. But oh how silly of me, that’s a BORING DANCE along with every other type of dance under the sun.

My level 5′s were discussing music. I was quick to discover that music I have loved all my life from Jazz music, Salsa music, Rock music, Country music, Reggae music and even classical music…are all BORING. How had I been so blind?! I did, miraculously, get one other adjective wrenched from their closed minds, it appears they are all fiercely patriotic when it comes to anything Korean… K-pop music is “good” and the Korean Fan Dance was “good” too. Kill me now!!!

How Boring...

We talked about Native American Rain dances and I showed them a photo of their elaborate and colorful costumes which were, you guessed it…BORING. I got frustrated at this point because there is no way in hell you could ever describe a rain dance as being “boring”. Extravagant maybe, spectacular, colourful, unusual, maybe even scary but no way is it BORING!

Turns out I wasn’t alone in my findings today. Cindy and Daniel, the other Native English teachers in my school was trying to deal with the exact same problems. Attempting to teach a whole unit on puppets (a Unit usually lasts 7 days) when the students keep emphasizing their dislike/indifference to the world of puppets can be quite the challenge! I guess the ONE HUNDRED AND ONE MILLION PEOPLE who viewed this puppet pals video must just be brain dead thinking this video could be…entertaining when its so OBVIOUSLY BORING!!

One disgruntled and…wait for it…bored..student cheekily commented in class saying , “Teachaa, This is supposed to be ENGLISH class, NOT music class!!” Thanks for the memo you cheeky brat, now prepare yourself for one HELL of a lot of homework, a big chunk of tedious, tiring, dull, irksome, annoying, uninteresting BORING homework coming right at ya!

English is a Crazy Language

20 Feb

An oldie but a goodie,and a good laugh fot my fellow teacher buddies..thanks to my friend Hazel for sharing this!!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

1) The bandage was wound round the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove(bird) dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid(disabled person).

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how torow .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewerline.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow (pig) to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind out the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Walt Disney; My Idol

19 Feb

I no longer want to become an inspirational teacher, traveller and writer. I no longer want to venture back to Africa, where my heart belongs, to set up a school or orphanage or do any of the other things I outlined in THIS post.I have ,instead, decided to become a cartoonist. I would also like to become one the most successful business people in the world and set up the world’s most renowned Children’s characters and a theme park, or theme parks, that are cleverer, better run, better known and simply more “magical” than anywhere else.

Nah, just kidding. Walt Disney is now my Idol and my inspiration because it turns one of the quotes I have lived my life by, “If you dream it, you can do it”, comes from him. On top of that revelation I also recently found another captivating quote from Sir Walt;

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.

If that is not inspiring then nothing is. The man was a genius thus why I would love to follow in his footsteps and maybe someday inspire others. I plan on living my dream, slowly but surely, and only time will tell what I can achieve. Fo the time being I am going to enjoy every last-minute of my life here in Korea. I am going to stay positive and try my utmost to encourage and inspire the somewhat saddened and overworked children I currently teach.

As my idol once famously quoted;

“Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children. We worry about what a child will become tomorrow yet we forget that he is someone today”.

Have you guys got any favorite quotes or personal Idols?

Superkalifragilisticexcpialadocious!

20 Jan

“Don’t piss off Gorillas!”, wise advice, as always from my level 6 students(Written as part of a movie review assignment about King Kong yesterday!”) Not quite to vocabulary I would like them to be using, but as the sentence makes alot of sense I will let it slide this time. I am often surprised my my students level of vocab, especially the lower levels, as they turn around in their chair and excaim, “Are you KIDDING me??” when I let them know that, Yes, they will be getting homework today.

Yesterday one 9 year old student asked me, “Teacher, what’s the banter?” I nearly fell off my chair laughing at his perfect use of british slang! As to where he learnt it, I have not  clue. In that same class the same student taught me the difference, in ENGLISH, between the Kalishnikov AK47 guns used in Russia since 1949 and Korean M1 sniper rifles (??!!!) used during the Korean war!!!

Not to be outdone by my super smart students, today I revealed my own weapons of mass destruction;

ANTI-DISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM

and

SUPERKALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS

We had great fun looking at youtube videos from Mary Poppins nd by the end of the class I had all the students singing a long;

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Even though the sound of it
Is something quite atrocious
If you say it loud enough
You’ll always sound precocious
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

This week has been a nice reminder as to WHY I am in Korea teaching English. I LOVE teaching, I LOVE children and I seem to learn something new everyday, be it about my students or about myself!

So HERE is to all you other teachers in South Korea… CHIN UP and remember “Smile and the world (or your class!) smiles wih you, Frown and you frown alone!

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