A word that really shouldn’t come up in class…

This week in my teachers’ class, I decided to teach interjections using the Schoolhouse Rocks song.  It’s catchy, funny and most of the words are still used today.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP4N27kbMdk)

I had my students watch the video a few times and make a list of the interjections they heard.  We then talked about them.

“Eeek!” and “Aw!” were fairly easy to explain.  “Hey!” was a bit trickier but with a few examples of body language and a short lesson on intonation, they understood.

“Hey!” -friendly with a wave. (As in Hey, how are you?)

“Hey!” – Angry with hands on my hips. (As in Hey, stop talking and pay attention!)

“Hey.” – Sultry with come-hither eyes.   (As in Hey baby. :D)

It wasn’t until we hit “Rats!” and “Darn!” that problems began to arise.

“We use Rats! and Darn! when something goes wrong,” I began. “Like if you were to spill your drink.”

“Oh! So they are like Oops?”

“No,” I tried again. “It’s more like…. um…. say there was a movie you wanted to see and I invited you to go but you already had plans.  You could say Rats! or Darn!”

Blank stares of incomprehension.

“Ok… what about…. sometimes….” I couldn’t for the life of me think of a situation in which I would use either of those words.

I looked around at the eager, expectant faces.  I love teaching my teachers’ class.  If they don’t get something, they try really hard to understand, unlike the students who get bored and start punching the kid next to them.

“We use Rats! and Darn!” I began, lowering my voice and blushing slightly. “when it’s inappropriate to say F*ck.”

“Ah!!! ” everyone chorused. “Why didn’t you say so?!”

And suddenly, everyone had several perfectly good examples of when and how to use Rats!  and Darn!

Why is it that everyone knows the F-word?

And speaking of the F-word, Koreans refer to the middle finger as the “F*ck you finger.”  Why?  I have no idea.  They also seem to be under the impression that the action of sticking your middle finger up at someone is EXTREMELY rude.

In class I will have children who suddenly start yelling and pummelling the child beside them (the boys) or burst into heart-wrenching sobs (girls).

“What’s wrong?!” I ask, running over.

“He gave me the F*ck you finger!!!!!”

That is just wrong in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin correcting the students.  They say you should choose your battles, and I have to say that is one lesson I’m happy to leave for someone else. 🙂


About Carrie K

Teacher, writer, traveller. Slightly neurotic. Overly talkative. Loving life. You can also follow me on Twitter: kimchigirl72
This entry was posted in Education, Korea, Korean schools, Taehwa, Teachers, teaching in Korea, Travel, Ulsan. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A word that really shouldn’t come up in class…

  1. Brooke says:

    Oh rats, I spit out my coffee laughing at this. Darn, now I have to go clean my shirt.

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