Stress Patterns

Today I’m researching ways to teach conversational stress patterns (the English language derives meaning from content words that are emphasized, so the meaning of a sentence can change depending on the choice of words stressed) to the students, but the only stress pattern I can discern is my raising blood temperature.

Since class is resuming, post midterm break, towards the end of the week and the cycle of my lesson plans begin on Mondays, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and take the kids outside for a game.  I asked the students to form a circle and let the students ask and answer questions randomly, depending on where the ball gets tossed.   Some of the questions were:

“Do you have a girlfriend?”


“What grade did you get?”

“fuck you, asshole.”

They only asked questions to humiliate each other.  They kept breaking the circle and wandering off in little conversation groups.  They refused to catch the ball.  They basically ignored the game or threw the ball as far away as they could.

Okay.  Fine.  No more game.  Back to the classroom.

I had them all write, “When I act as a child, I will be treated as a child.” 50 times.

I told them I was disappointed in them, and if they wanted to have fun like this writing assignment every week, then we can have big fun.

To which they would make comments to each other about me in Korean and break out in howls of laughter.

What kind of idiots are these kids? I’m beginning to have the sneaking suspicion these boys are part masochists and rather enjoy having the teacher be their evil overlords.  Where the fuck is the co-teacher?  Actually, I saw him in the halls as we were heading outside.  He laughed and turned around.

There is a rumor that the school is arranging a trip to the U.S. this summer to tour Ivy League schools and that instead of spending my time teaching an English summer camp, I will be sent to Massachusetts and Connecticut to chaperon.  Sounds like bloody hell.  If my worthless co-teacher is the male chaperon, I will go ballistic.

I miss Thailand and teaching Thai kids.  I wish I was Thai instead of Korean most days.

5 thoughts on “Stress Patterns

  1. That sounds like typical high school student behavior. I remember an eighth grade teacher here in the states comparing us to turkeys in a lightning storm. They apparently huddle together in groups but peck away at others to try and comfort themselves. They wind of pecking a number of their rank to death.

    When planning activities I often try and anticipate how as a student (think Bart Simpson) I might have derailed the activity and then try and restructure and plan for it. Planning productive outdoor activities on a Spring day with a large class, that’s tricky!

    Great blog by the way. I enjoy reading about your experiences and will be arriving in Seoul myself in a little over a week. I’m a friend of your daughter Sara.

    Q: “what grade did you get?”

    A: “fuck you asshole.”

    you have to admit that’s pretty funny

  2. Q: “what grade did you get?”

    A: “fuck you asshole.”

    you have to admit that’s pretty funny

    Yeah! I was just kind of stunned and didn’t know what to do for the kid, who I realized took care of it as best he could. I think I just said something like, “whoa!”

    I admit I was acting on impulse and there was a lack of planning: I just had two days to fill until the next cycle of lessons.

    But damnit, I am not used to packs of turkeys. Good advice, but can I even begin to think, “What would Bart do?”

    This separating of the boys from girls is deadly. All the teachers here hate it for this very reason. They only do it to the 1st year high school kids, and then they’re allowed to have co-ed classes afterwards.

    Well, welcome to Korea! Assuming you are an age peer of Sara’s, you’re probably going to have a great great time here. It’s quite a playground,and I wish like hell I was 15 years younger than I am so I could slip in and have a social life.

  3. Looks like I wrote ‘wind of’ instead ‘wind up’.

    …can I even begin to think, “What would Bart do?”

    It really can be a terrifying line of thought if you have a good imagination and a mischievous streak, but you seem very reflective and resourceful teacher. I’m not worried about you (:

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