Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Open Lessons, Pepero Day

For the last month I've been teaching a 'special' lesson alongside my usual textbooks for two of my classes, at a significantly higher level than what the kids are used to, for the purpose of impressing their watching parents. We practiced every day, to the point that everybody became intensely bored with it and yearned for a return to the normal structure. But the parents don't want to see a standard lesson from the standard text book thereby giving an accurate representation of how their child is performing in school. No. They insist that we place them in battery cages and drill into their mushy heads twice a day the same regurgitated lesson for four long stultifying weeks.

Whatever. With my homeroom Cambridge 1 class we did the polar regions. I had them memorise how to spell Antarctica, where penguins live and who the first man to reach the north pole was, that sort of thing. We did the lesson last Thursday and it was a success, I think. No kids have quit yet, and I've been told that in the past, as a result of a substandard open lesson, they have.

Today I taught the prodigies in Harvard class the history of chocolate. They did quite well, considering they had to memorise and incorporate into sentences words like civilisation, conquistador, Xocolatl and Tenochtitlan (they're six). Jenny actually nailed 'Tenochtitlan' but came unstuck on the word 'milk'...

It was also unintentionally prescient of me to choose the history of chocolate as my open lesson, as today in Korea, it is Pepero Day. Although alliteratively connected, Peperos have nothing to do with poppies, and the celebrations are about as far removed from two minute silences as you're going to get. Peperos are biscuit sticks coated in chocolate, made by the Lotte conglomeration, given to "the special person in your life" on this day every year. Lotte thought up this celebratory day a few years ago, plumping for this date as written numerically it's 11/11, which, obviously, resembles four peperos. They're pretty basic to be honest, with little in the way of taste, but the kids can't get enough. And I, being their beloved teacher, have been showered with them. This flash video will explain nothing but click it anyway for further proof that Asia is just insane.


Remember: Dulce et decorum est... Pepero...

2 comments:

Chi-Hé said...

I had 3 kids leave one of my classes earlier this year due to the crappiest, worst planned open class ever in the history of open English classes in Korea, and to top it off the kids got shy and pretty much didn't say anything the whole half an hour. Maybe it was self-motivated though, since that's one class a day I don't have to teach anymore...

Michael said...

I recently had a couple of kids arrive in my class because of a crappy, badly-planned open day at another school. Your kids weren't called Alex and Jessie, were they?