Hello, My name is Stoner

Prompted by my strange students and their strange, often upsetting (for them not me) ways of answering my questions this post will be about the difficulty of teaching English to people who don’t actually want to learn English and also find it to be a strange, strange language…which I guess it is.

Taken from B is For Cookie‘s blog today 

“Today a boy of about five looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Hello teacher. Blah blah de blee blo bladdy blah blah bloo.”

I looked back at him and said “Anyonghaseyo. Ehyo, yehyo, kaka seyo imnida, eh, eh,” followed by a series of grunts.
Sounds about right.”


This kind of thing happens to me all the time. Why? Because often times the kids that attend my classes really do not want to be there. Their parents send them to every type of Academy available. Kids as young as 7 are in school from 8am until 6 or 7pm at night. It is crazy. At the weekends instead of playing and being naughty like all other kids their age they sit inside and study. Imagine a 7 year old in Ireland studying until 10pm at night? Yea right!

Korea has one of the highest test score averages in the world but one of the lowest rates of happiness amoungst students and one of the highest rates of suicide. All children do here is study. When I ask them what they plan to do for they weekend they reply “Study and Sleep”. How depressing. I often allow unrelated humour or silliness in my class as it creates a better atmosphere. However when kids start shouting out random English words just beacause they think its funny it can be really frustrating. I have one student who randomly shouts out “GRAPES!!” or “PIG” or “CRAZY” and then the class bursts out laughing. He wrecks my head.

All students are given English names to make our lives easier. Personally, I wouldn’t mind calling them by their Korean names but my boss insists each kid has a new English name. As one student in my upper level class was yet to tell me his, I asked him in class yesterday. He replied “Stoner”. Now this kid is one of the most conservative, shy and well behaved 13 year olds you will ever meet. He comes from a very Christian family and could not be further from a “Stroner!” So where on earth did he get the idea to call himself this?! God only knows.

Today I made a kid cry and I really don’t know why. We were doing a fun quiz on ‘Festivals of the World’ and I saw he had his book open and told him to close it. He burst out crying, loud snotty sniffles while burying his littlw head in his arms. It damn well nearly broke my heart. Last week a student in my level 2 class had a river of tears rolling down his cheeks after I asked him to move seats because he was misbehaving. Either I’m a total Bit$h or the language difference is proving to make situations 10 times more difficult.


5 thoughts on “Hello, My name is Stoner

    1. Yeah it’s one big learning curve I guess and the culture difference means everything here is is magnified. Let’s hope I don’t make anyone cry today though! 😦

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