Over the past few weeks, I’ve overheard my students saying “She follow me!” Sometimes they say it to each other, and sometimes they say it to me. Occasionally I try to correct them, “She follows me,” but they just stare at me in utter confusion when I try.
I had no idea why they were saying it. “She follow me.” Who is following whom? Do you have a stalker? Why is she following you? Any attempts to ask for clarification usually led to the students dissolving in laughter, and me walking away still mystified.
Today I noticed one of my students had written “she follow me” on their textbook.
“She follow me!” I exclaimed, pointing at his book.
“She follow me! She follow me!” The students were thrilled. “She follow me!”
“She follow me! She follow me!” we chorused together happily. “She follow me!”
I had given up on ever finding out what it meant; I was just happy the students were voluntarily using English. We exchanged high fives, I gave them the thumbs up, and then I wandered away.
I made a slow tour of the classroom to ensure everyone was on task, and then I meandered over to where my co-T was sitting.
“Do you know why the students keep saying ‘she follow me’?” I asked her.
“WHAT??!!” she gasped, spitting coffee over the desk. “Who said that??”
“Nobody in particular,” I hedged, as she glared fiercely around the classroom.
Apparently, ‘she follow me’ sounds an awful lot like the Korean for ‘your mother is a prostitute.’