Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy April Fool's Day!

Today started off like any normal day... Most Koreans don't think twice about today, but I know better. It is April 1st. I had already discussed my plans to mess with my kids' heads with my coteacher (the one who had lived in Canada, and had experienced the day in a Western country first hand). There are 4 other teachers in my office. My coteacher (John), the old man, and I are usually the first ones in. Next, comes the Math teacher. As she walked into the office, John told her that she needed to go to the principal ASAP because he needed to talk to her. With a confused look on her face, she headed toward the door. My coteacher then yelled, "Happy April Fool's Day!" and she let out a huge sigh of relief.
Then, I entered my first class..... 
I reviewed last week's lesson and told the students that it was pop quiz time. I could see their little freaked out faces look toward my coteacher, hoping she would put a stop to the test. SunYoung knew my exact plans and strictly told them to finish the quiz without any talking. If you don't already know, most Asian students take test taking very seriously. Teaching is mainly test-driven and they are taught from a young age that tests directly relate to what you can do in the future. The quiz for my high level students went something like this:
English Test 
Directions: Read ALL directions and questions before you start.
1.     How many letters are in the alphabet?  ___________
2.     What are you doing this weekend? ______________________________
3.     What is the function of a verb?  ________________________________
4.     What state in the USA is Caitlin-teacher from?  _________________
5.     Stand up. Touch your knees. Touch your nose. Sit down.
6.     What is 648*59? ___________
7.     ¿Por qué estudias inglés?  _________________________________
8.     How do hydraulics impact our society? (Please write answer on the back of this paper)
9.    Tell your partner, "I am almost finished!!"
10.   Do not answer any of the above questions. Turn your test over.
 I got question after question... "TEACHER! What does this mean?" "I can't speak French teacher!" "What does function mean?" Kid points to #5, "Whaaat? Do I do this?" "#2, THIS weekend? Wait, what I am doing THIS weekend, right?
I just answered with a simple, "NO QUESTIONS! SHHH"
I gave them about 5 minutes. When I told them, 1 more minute, I heard a million sighs and "AHHHHH"s
Me: "Please read the directions out loud."
Class: Read ALL directions and questions before you start."
Me: "Now read number 10, please."
Class: "Do not answer any of the questions.......? AHHHHH! NOOO TEACHER!!!"
I then wrote "Happy April Fools Day" on the board and said "Sorry, this is not a real test." "Ahhhh teacherrr," with signs of relief.

My lower levels got something similar:
English Test 
Directions: Read ALL directions and questions before you start.
1.    What is your favorite sport? ______________ 
2.    What time is it? _______________
3.    How’s the weather? ____________
4.    Clap your hands 3 times.
5.    Say, "I'm doing number 5."
6.    Stand up. Sit down.
7.   Tell your partner, “I’m almost finished!”
8.    What is 583+9004)*76? _________
9.    Do not answer any of the questions. Thank you for reading.
My coteacher and I were cracking up once we heard clapping, saw kids standing and sitting, and yelling out "I'm on number 5!" In my last class of the day, I received a round of applause as they all realized they got fooled. One kid said, "OH MY GOD" (for some reason, even the lowest levels know this phrase... of course it is expressed in an awkward monotone voice.)
Once I started my lessons, my kids kept saying... "Teacher, I do not believe you. This lesson is a lie."
The Korean Ethics teacher showed me a video in between classes. One of his classes put all of their uniform jackets on backwards, put their glasses on the back of their heads, turned their chairs around, and bowed to the teacher backwards. I was happy to see that the students were getting into the spirit of the "holiday" and enjoyed messing with their minds for a little... even if that meant I temporarily broke their trust :)

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