A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dung & Rockets

I've been having trouble sleeping, so I decided to crack open the bottle of Kosher wine my boss gave me as a gift for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). Yeah, it was weird.

I don't know whether to say l'chaim, or ganbei...

I've discovered in my teaching experience so far, and also talking to my teacher friends, that scatological humour is universal among children. The other day in class I was drawing some pictures of a dog on the white-board to illustrate a story I had just read to the kids. I had barely finished, when one of the students at the front of the class leapt up: "Teacher! Teacher!" and pleadingly held out her hand for the marker to make and addition to the drawing. It was towards the end of class so I indulged her, wondering what she thought was so important. Next to the cartoon dog, the otherwise sweet 8-year-old Korean girl drew a large, steaming pile of shite.

Obviously very proud of herself, she pointed to the pile and stated matter-of-factly: "Teacher! Dung!" but the way they pronounce the word it sounds more like "doung."

This was not an isolated incident.

In the evening, in what passes as a story writing class for the advanced students, it didn't take long for the stories to turn to "doung." In fact two of the three students' stories involved descriptions of either David Beckham's poop, or mine... in space.

We did rewrites.

I'm not alone in this either. Shane said that he often sees his own students' binders annointed with little rainbow pen rendered piles. This is sharing binder space with cute Hello Kitty-esque stickers, so I don't get it. They're always these perfect little toothpaste pyramid piles too. If I ever saw something so perfectly rendered on the sidewalk I'd take a picture and start a clothing line. Seriously.

Among my favorite random english t-shirt slogans I've seen so far:
  • "Ass man" as seen on a middle-aged family man, at the subway with his wife and daughters.
  • "Aggressive" as seen on a teenager, calming relaxing on a bench.
  • "100% fuckin' Canadian" as seen on a young Korean woman who probably didn't even know where Canada is on a map.
In all actuality, it could sell to the rebellious middle-school set. Dung chic is not far from taking Hanguk by storm.

I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Micaela said...

Sam,
Perhaps you need to bring in an authentic pile of shit, harvested directly from a downtown curb, in order to clearly "illustrate" the difference between Hello Kitty's rainbow coloured toothpaste-swirl card, and the real stinkin' squishy mccoy. Sometimes education is a tough load. Miss you here in rainy Halifax. xoxo