Some say that he has two left hands, and his nose can tell when it will rain. All we know is that he's called DFM.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Episode 33: In Which DFM Gets His Own Cheer And Has His Arms Chopped Off

Time for a new day of teaching, but unfortunately my hard day of climbing/hiking/driving/talking yesterday left me with  a bad cold and an almost non-existent voice.  Not a good combination when you're only job is to speak.  

I figured that I'd catch a break with Monday being the PE day, but no such luck.  Woojin wanted me to do a lot more teaching and speaking and because PE class is a time when children forget all the classroom rules, I had to do a lot of yelling.  By the end of the day my voice was completely wiped out.  I wish I could speak more Korean.  Woojin made a boy cry today, but when I yell at the children they just think it's funny gibberish.

As I've mentioned before, Woojin is hired by the school from a private business that provides Physical Education teachers.  Every week he is trained in some new activity and is sent from school to school to implement that plan.  Last week the activity centered around throwing balls at a target, but this week we were attempting to bring back the Skip-It to its former glory as King of the School Yard.

There was no way the four year olds would be able to whip the ball around one leg and jump over it with the other, so we had them just try to kick the ball as they let it hang from their hands.  I was surprised at how hard even this task was for some of them to complete.

For the five year olds, Woojin formed partners and one person would then whirl the ball from side-to-side, while the other person attempted to jump over it.

Woojin was pretty sure they wouldn't be able to do it, but his boss made him try, so we had the six year olds attempt the full-blown Skip-It maneuver.  The hole for their leg was way too big, and even fell off my foot when I tried it.  Some kids attempted to fix the problem by putting the hoop around their thigh, as you see in the pictures, but clearly that would never work.  For the next group of six year olds Woojin modified the activity into a relay race with he and I doing the whiping action of the fiver year olds, which resulted in much less sitting and much more smiling.

I figured out the name of my "special art" class finally.  It's called "Art in English" which helps explain why the teacher always wants me to write out the English words on the children's papers.  

Today the children had to colour the Korean national flower, called "Mugunghwa."  This was the first time the children have not been allowed free reign to choose any colour they please.  They were told to follow the colours of the flower in the picture exactly and had good fun learning the names of the colours too.  

The children are learning other English at an incredibly quick rate, too.  Last week they could barely say "hello" and "good-bye," but today the girl bent over her picture in the photograph (it's Sticker Girl) asked me to tell her the name of the flower (in English... sort of).  I told her I didn't know and so she wrote it out (in Korean, which is a brilliant writing system as I've mentioned before) and taught me how to pronounce it.  I've since decided to put some more effort into my Korean practice so I don't get left behind by the kids - no six year old is going to beat DFM!

This boy is one of the smarter children in the class and he soon figured out that a camera meant an opportunity to show off his balancing skills.  He also attempted to count to twenty in English while balancing, but could only get to about fourteen successfully on his own (last week he only had one to eight).  Including all the time I spent correcting him I'd say that by the time he got to twenty he was standing on one leg for at least 40 seconds.

I have also developed a group of cling-ons.  There's usually one girl in every class who will try to hold my hand and lead me around or otherwise attach herself to my leg/arm.  This five year old girl was quite happy to not have a partner for jumping over the ball, because it gave her an excuse to follow me around everywhere.  I distracted her for a moment, but almost didn't get this picture off in time before she was stuck to my leg again.

I tried to sneak a picture of my Art In English Class listening to their teacher.  Of course I couldn't sneak anything past the two camera hogs, Sticker Girl and Fight Girl.  I felt bad for distracting the class, but the teacher instead tried to tell me in broken English that she wanted me to stay until this December.

The class was worried about my sore throat and cold, so they made up a cheer that went "DFM fighting!" and involved a lot of fists pumping in the air.  I think they meant fighting the cold.


While the girls attempt to hold my hand, the boys have taken to attempting to punch me in the butt or the groin whenever possible.  These two boys make a paper shiv each day and then wait in the hallway to ambush me between classes.  I've had both arms and both legs cut off, plus I've had my guts spilled out on the floor and been decapitated.  Sometimes the shiv turns into a machine gun without warning and I'm blown to bits.

It's been a while since I've seen some good Kongrish, but this sign should more than make up for it.

I had planned to head back over to Ace and go climbing in the evening, but I was overcome with a fever and decided that perhaps sleep was the best option.  I took an evening nap for a couple of hours (although I woke up in a panic that I had slept in 'til noon the next day) and when I awoke my fever was gone.  I still had a cold and sore throat to get rid of though, so hopefully a good night's sleep will help repair the damage that I've done on my far too busy weekend.


  1. The Korean national flower is the rose of Sharon, botanical name Hibiscus syriacus.

  2. The Korean name of the Rose of Sharon is Mugunghwa.