In a Wayguk’s Shoes … erm, Classroom

Background: I am an English teacher living in Yeosu, South Korea at the moment. In Korea, foreigners are called Waygugan (plural; Wayguk, singlular). Most foreigners here are English teachers in either public or private schools. I work in a private English academy, and as most English teachers here can agree, the students bring such a mix or joy and crazy to your life. Here’s a week in my classrooms.


On Monday, Headmaster started meeting in the most chipper of moods. “We do many things good,” he said, and then his positive mood evaporated. “But today, we must talk about bad thing.” Later, in Level 4, Alex and James changed their names to Apple and Pear. They now refuse to respond to any name except for their fruit identities. After class, Pear flipped off Jake from Level 5, who put him in a headlock and punched him in the gut. In Level 5, Aaron snapped Jake’s glasses in two. Then Jake couldn’t read the board and made the entire class aware of said vision impairment every 30 seconds.

On Tuesday, in Level 5, Kim-Ana-Diana-Cherry-Iris threw fish egg candy at the boys and smashed the pink globs into Aaron’s hair, who in turn smeared it on her face and desk. Eric began drawing an epic fight scene between Iron Man and Spider Man on his desk, which ended halfway up the wall next to the word SEX written there in permanent marker. In Level 3, Erin kicked Yes in the nuts seven times because he kept asking her to and Liam said he needed to go make a yellow waterfall, gestures included. In her book report, Jenny said she wished her father was Papa Bear from the Berenstain Bears books because her father is not a nice man, but Papa Bear is good.

On Wednesday, Aaron didn’t bring a single thing to class and stole Jake’s phone, hiding it until Jake sat on him. Daniel exploded dry erase markers, leaving wet blue and red streaks across the ceiling and walls. Sheryl brought a BB gun to Level 6, whipping it out of her pocket and shooting the board, to the shocked awe of Alice. In the elevator, Look from Level 6 screamed, insisting I was the ghost of Jesus and Elin demanded to know why I don’t have a baby.

Thursday arrived with buckets of rain and the distinct smell of wet-dog coming from Tom. Eric ate two hamburgers and chugged three bottles of milk during reading class, leaving grease-filled fingerprints on the pages and his trash all over the floor. Apple crumbled a pencil to splinters with one fist after trying to give Pear a black eye for touching his phone. Kim-Ana-Diana-Cherry-Iris refused to do any work and instead sang every song from Frozen. The new girls in Level 1 took three pictures of me each with phones bigger than their heads.  . I ♥ you, they wrote in their shaking, tiny handwriting underneath every word I wrote on the board.

On Friday, Libby announced that her parents had had a fight. She explained, with drawings and labels, their latest argument and why her father would not be attending her birthday party. Apple, Pear, Erin and Jake all demanded candy the second I walked in the door despite their bulging pockets full of lollipops. During reading, Jenny raised her hand to ask if I sleep in the same bed as my husband. She then announced that her parents have separate rooms and that she sleeps in the living room because there isn’t a bedroom for her. My middle school girls informed me that I have Cinderella’s face and ran away giggling madly. Sheryl stuffed a glass bottle full of toilet paper and using the flame from the gas heater, lit it on fire.  At long last, nine o’clock arrived, craziness at my heals. I was about to walk out the door when Erin ran by. She handed me a folded origami heart.

I Love Teacher

Students, such charming little monsters.


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