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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

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  • The world according to middle school...

    This past week I have been conducting speaking tests with my students. Typically, I'll give the students a list of possible questions that I "might" ask them -so they have a rough idea. Some of the students prepare ahead and try to memorize, but usually I'll ask them one question, and create more questions based off of the one they just answered. I'll grade them on their pronunciation and and grammar inside their sentence. So far, I've had three straight days of nothing but speaking tests, and some of their answers have been quite comical - I'll do you a service by letting you know some of the best answers to the five different questions. Mind you, as these are not direct quotes, I've improved the grammar, so you can make sense of what they're saying -trust me, my students aren't this good.
    Onto the questions:
    1)
    What is your favourite thing you like about Korea?
    "...the PC rooms. They are very cheap, and have fast computers. They also have colour printers were you can print money". (hmmm....so that's how Korean students get by without working jobs, yet carrying cell phones triple the cost of my cell phone....hmmmm)
    "...the Korean language, Hanguel. Hanguel has won many awards for the best language in the world, and it won first prize for best scientific language". (the cynic in me wants to ask the students why, if Korean is so amazing, why am i teaching you English? However,as any teacher will tell you, English really is a stupid language)
    "
    ...Public transportation is the best in the world. other countries do not have public transportation, and that is why their pollution is so bad". (She does have a point...on Seoul having amazing public transportation, but they definately aren't the only city...)
    "
    ...Chopsticks are the best in Korea. When I went on vacation to another country, I tried to use the chopsticks, but they didn't work. Korean chopsticks are the best in the world". (I'm sure a lot of people think that their chopsticks are often broken too..especially those metal ones...)
    "
    ...Korean internet speed. Once, when i was living in America, I tried to do my homework, and it took ten minutes to finish. But when I came to Korea, it only takes me one minutes. Our internet is the fastest everywhere". (hmmm...he might be onto something here - this might explain why his speaking isn't improving - so far, you can't get homework answers on the internet. yet..)

    2)
    Where would you like to travel with your family?
    "
    ...I want to visit Italia". (I don't know if Italy, the other "Italia" is running a tourism campaign right now on TV, but 98% of my students say that they want to visit Italy, or Italia as someone seems to be teaching them is the country's name. reasons vary, but aparantly, Korean children are in love with pasta.)
    "
    ...to the moon. If my family and I can go to the moon, the the world will see that Korea is a very scientific nation". (Aparantly, many students feel that Korea is being slighted on the international stage in reference to the worlds "science" rankings...whose teaching them this stuff?)
    "
    ...to Greece. As the world knows, Greece was the starting point for all of civilization, so I want to see where the world began". (I wanted to ask him more about this...but then thought otherwise...)

    3)
    What is your favourite food/What food do you hate?
    "
    ...i hate hamburgers. As you know, hamburgers are made by young children, and I think that they taste very bad". (Here's an example of an internet translation gone bad - what she's "clearly" saying is that they're bad for children's health...something got lost in the translation...not that you could tell)

    4)
    What are some good qualities you look for in a friend?
    "
    ...a good friend should be able to help me with my math homework and solve my problems for me...yes, they should..." (I don't see anything wrong with this...not at all - in fact, I wish I'd had friends like this when I was in middle school)

    And to think that I've only had my advanced classes so far...just wait till I start my basic level tests - I'm sure there will be more to come.

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