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korean University Freshman: a teachers nightmare!
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The Lemon



Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jun 28, 2003 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to agree with Len8. It does seem to depend on what department the students belong to - PE students are famously horrible at our school.
I think it also depends on what school you're teaching at. A good school in Seoul will have better, keener and more cosmopolitan students than a low-rated university out on the sticks.
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drcrazy



Joined: 19 Feb 2003
Location: Pusan. Yes, that's right. Pusan NOT Busan. I ain't never been to no place called Busan

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 6:10 am    Post subject: Freshman English Reply with quote

I am in what many would call a bad university. It is in a small town outside of Pusan, and you need to give a taxi driver a lot of help to find it. It is true we have what you would call bad students in the sense that their English is very low to almost zero, in spite of having studied English for 6 years before coming here. Also, the students come from all different departments. However, it is Freshman English. Thus, no matter how weak they are on day one, that can not be held against them. Like in French 101 in the USA where you have true beginners and ones with 4 years in HS in the same class. Easy "A" for the latter. But still, you start from scratch. Maybe the key is my enthusiasm rubs off on them????
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The Lemon



Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty darn perky and enthusiastic too.

But I can show you some classes (a few, anyway) that no Obi Won Teacher would be able to penetrate. While I agree that different students (and different classes) respond better to particular teachers and teaching styles, I'm secure enough in my teaching ability to know that there are classes at our school that most if not all teachers would be able to turn around. This is largely for political and cultural reasons and circumstances that are beyond the teacher's control.

As a prerequisite class, most students are there because they have to take it, not because they want to. And some actively resent being forced to learn something they'll never use, at a university they're too ashamed to admit they attend (no campus bookstore selling university jackets & bumper stickers around here...). Add to that the anti-Western inclination on the part of many of our students here in deepest Cholla-do, and you'll see that conditions can conspire against the best teacher.
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Kyrei



Joined: 22 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 10:39 pm    Post subject: Grade-grabbing Reply with quote

'Tis the season of grade-grabbers / whiners. I'm curious to see what kind of "requests" you all are getting from the students who feel they have been cheated this semester.

My favorite so far this season:
"I took my grade. but I can't understand why it's too low.
Could you check it, please?
I took part in all of the exams, and I submitted all portfolios.
just call me or send me a email."

The student in question got 92% and found it "too low" (by the way that is 92% curved up from 90%) ... ahh makes me wish I had gone to a Korean university so I could whinge my grades all up to straight A+...

Kyrei
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katydid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Here kitty kitty kitty...

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to bring this thread back at the top as I want to talk about the midterm I just gave to my freshmen.

Surprisingly, no real disasters this time. Only three students that I had never ever ever seen before showed up to take the midtrm; the rest of my students showed up pretty much without a hitch. Some did show up after the test time, but being the kind, sweet teacher I am, I am going to let them take the test at a later date.

The really funny/strange things that happened during the test: when I had some of my students count from 10 to 20 for me, a LOT of them did not say 18! If ever there was a case for conscious vs. subconscious thought, there it is. I suppose it's flattering they couldn't bring themselves to say in front of their teacher, the english number that when said in in Korean, corresponds to an 11 letter swear word in English.

What I find sad though is that when I asked them to tell me the name of a person in a picture or where they were from, or how old they were, a lot of students told me they didn't know. We went over this in class, and I said to them, I don't care if you say Jenny or Lisa or Britney, or Geraldine or even Madonna, all I want is a complete correct sentence, "Her name's __________." A lot of people hung themselves on the thought that if they said "Her name is Freida," they'd run the risk of getting it wrong, becase I thought her name was Heloise. Something like that. A lot of the students just have no sense of creativity. They spent a lot of their time, scanning the back of the picture hoping to find the person's correct name. Rolling Eyes

Also, another thing I found interesting was that with the pictures I used, a lot of people said a female singer from Japan was Korean and a male Korean-born doctor was Chinese or Japanese. I thought everyone here was equipped with K-dar, but I guess I was wrong. Wink

EDIT: One more thing. Bear with me please. Wink One of my classes is made up of students studying Chinese, Japanese or English. I had one student Studying Japanese from that class come in and when I asked her a question for small talk, she responded with "Hi!"


Last edited by katydid on Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lemon wrote:
I'm pretty darn perky and enthusiastic too.


I don't know, I've met you and I would use flabby and not perky Wink
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Austin



Joined: 23 May 2003
Location: In the kitchen

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:39 pm    Post subject: Curious... Reply with quote

I posted about this years ago, when I was teaching Freshman English courses at a private university, but here goes again...

Why do so many of you take yourselves so seriously? You are teaching Freshman courses, which do not mean squat to any person but yourself!

Think about it for a second?

The first year of university for these kids is a time for them to learn how to socialize, survive, unwind, etc. These kids have been in pressure cookers for six or seven years, and now that they have landed in university, it is time for them to be able to reflect and celebrate!

Instead of being completely full of your own self-importance, why not see how you can help your students in a postive way? A retreat is much more important than some damned test you are going to give to them. Helping others during a test is their way of reinforcing the bond with their new friends and improving their social circle.

If anything, why not take the lead from seasoned Korean Professors that have been at the university for decades. They will tell you to ease up and to put your students' entire university experience into perspective, instead of being overly emphatic about your introductory course.

After all, what is a grade?

Do you really want to cause your students unnecessary hardships from your inability to understand the nature of your position?
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katydid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Here kitty kitty kitty...

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for coming out from under your bridge to comment....
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Kwangjuchicken



Joined: 01 Sep 2003
Location: I was abducted by aliens on my way to Korea and forced to be an EFL teacher on this crazy planet.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have also had the pleasure of meeting The Lemon.
He is ULTRA-PERKY. Wink
Have a nice day and hope to see you again soon. Laughing
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katydid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Here kitty kitty kitty...

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Kwangjuchicken"]I have also had the pleasure of meeting The Lemon.
He is ULTRA-PERKY. Wink
Have a nice day and hope to see you again soon. Laughing[/quote

Not perky, which in my book, is a word reserved for the Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day types, but certainly affable. Wink
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

katydid wrote:
Not perky, which in my book, is a word reserved for the Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day types, but certainly affable. Wink


How about spongy?
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katydid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Here kitty kitty kitty...

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kimcheeking wrote:
katydid wrote:
Not perky, which in my book, is a word reserved for the Mary Tyler Moore and Doris Day types, but certainly affable. Wink


How about spongy?


Um...I'm really not sure if I am able to comment on that at this time.... Smile
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weatherman



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lemon wrote:
I'm pretty darn perky and enthusiastic too.


It is true. In the late summer, you should have seen the sweat on this man, after a fun filled class. Amazing.
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katydid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Here kitty kitty kitty...

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

weatherman wrote:
The Lemon wrote:
I'm pretty darn perky and enthusiastic too.


It is true. In the late summer, you should have seen the sweat on this man, after a fun filled class. Amazing.


In fact. Weatherman has been known to throw a cape over the Lemon and help The Lemon, hunched over and drained of energy, out of the classroom.
No wait...I'm confusing The Lemon with James Brown. Wink
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coolsage



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: The overcast afternoon of the soul

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2003 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn. This thread, as so any others, has degenerated into a personal backbiting post. To return to the original topic, yes, wall-to-wall freshmen all day, all week, can sap one's energy, when there's no apparent feedback. However, it is useful to remember that if you're not getting through to the soju-soaked, cell-phone primates at the back of the class, you are making some progress with the earnest girls at the front. What you do with the middle group separates you from the pretenders. One has to be somewhat existential about this gig: serve up the goods as well as you can, and that's about all that can be done. Let the Koreans fall where they may.
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