The first lesson in our Grade 4 textbook is called “How are you?” Using a combintion of the textbook, Powerpoints and games, my co-T and I tried to teach the children alterntives to “I’m fine, thank you. And you?”
This is an example of a normal interaction with my students.
Me: Hi! How are you?
Student: Anyoo? Carrie-teacher! Anyoo?
Initially, our lessons were a brilliant success. Children always have a lot to say and suddenly, they had a whole lot more words to use.
(We’re working on pronunciation!)
We also taught “I’m excited!” and “I’m bored.” This led to an unexpected problem. The children couldn’t seem to grasp the difference between ‘ing’ endings and ‘ed’ endings.
Me: How are you?
Student: I am boring.
Oh well. At least it’s better than “Finesankyuanyoo?” Perhaps next week we’ll work on verb tenses.
After our second class, my co-T told the students that when they saw us in the hallway, they should practice. We teach over 300 fourth graders so she told them to introduce themselves and ask how we are.
This plan backfired spectacularly.
Now, every time I venture out of either the staffroom or the classroom, I am swarmed. They even follow me into the bathroom. Now interactions sound like this:
Student 1: Hi! I’m Kim Sangyoung. How are you?
Me: Hi! I’m….
Student2: I’m Park Young-
Student3: How are you?
Student 1: Carrie-teacher! How are you?
Student2: I’m Park Youngjin!
Student4: I’m –
Student1: HOW ARE YOU???
Student3:Carrie-teacher!! HOW ARE YOU?
Student5: I’M KIM MINJI!!
Student4: HOW ARE YOU? HOW ARE YOU? CARRIE-TEACHER! HOW ARE YOU?
They’re like flies on poop. The sound of English wafts down the hallway attracting more and more of them until I’m surrounded by hordes of squirming, snotty little people desperate to talk to me.
I even had three little girls corner me in the grocery store tonight, much to the amusement of the vegetable stacking man.
Why are they so interested in how I am? And they are interested. If I change my answer, they are scandalized.
“Carrie-teacher!!! You hungry??? You tell me sleepy!!!! Carrie-teacher, HOW ARE YOU?”
I don’t know how rock stars do it. I sure wouldn’t want to be famous! 😀