4.1 Spring 2022

April 22, Birthdays

For the months of the year lesson, I have a particular set up. After our usual warmup, the kids watch a catchy video and sing along. Then, we write each month one by one. I on the board and the students in their notebooks.

I ask students who has a birthday in each month and then write their names in Korean. They get a huge kick out of it, and get more excited as class goes on. Some classes try to prank me and the student in question by shouting out wrong spelling. Other students get louder and louder if I can’t understand them through their masks and the general chaos.

In one class, we had gotten to July and I called on a boy in the front with his hand raised.

혀… I started to write while the decibel levels increased to concerning levels. The boy in question started to shout individual alphabet letters (ㅎ! ㅛ!) as though I was a simpleton and I felt my neck go hot with embarrassment.

I stopped everyone.

“Listen,” I told him in Korean. “It’s really difficult to hear when everyone has a mask. And you know I’m not a native speaker. It would be great if you could bear with me,” I added, in only a mildly threatening way. Appropriately chastised, he slumped in his seat and I moved on to the next July birthday student.

After all the July birthdays had volunteered their names, I came back to him.

“효서” He said clearly and calmly.

I wrote his name on the board and the class cheered extra loud.

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