My experience with teaching spans across students of all ages; I’m talking people from 4-45. Of all the students and all the ages I’ve taught, I have the softest spot in my heart for middle schoolers; especially my second grade (8th grade) students at Onjeong Middle School. I was teaching an English summer camp one weekend where I had a small group of 12 students to spend the day with, doing any sort of English-involved activity. I wanted to give my students a taste of summer camp in America, so I treated them to a day full of camp songs, a water balloon toss, s’mores, and homemade goo. I couldn’t have asked for a better day for it either. The hot Korean sun was baking us up in the classroom and we could not wait to start our outdoor activities. When it was time for our water balloon toss I had all the students fill up our balloons in an outdoor sink. One of my most adored (sorry, favorites, I’m only human) second grade girls was filling up her balloons at the spout next to mine. Half-way through filling up one of my balloons, the rubber neck snapped and sprayed water all over my face and clothes. “EFF!” I blurted. My student tilted her head at me with a puzzled look and asked, “Teacher. EFF?” Ashamed of myself, I rolled my eyes and apologized for what I’d said, noting that I shouldn’t have said that in front of her. The second she realized I had said something I wasn’t supposed to say, the excitement overcame. With a huge grin on her face she asked, “Teacher! What is EFF?”
“Ok. Ok. I didn’t mean to say it, but EFF is bad. It’s like F-U-C-K, you know? I shouldn’t say it and you shouldn’t say it either.”
“Oooh, ok.” She nodded, gave me a grin, and we got on with our water balloon game.
Hours later at the end of our day, my students and I were in the kitchen to wash out our bowls from making goo. My girl had a large load of bowls in her arms and as she took them to the sink they slipped from her grip, making a loud and wet mess all around her. Without missing a beat, she found my eyes from across the room. She perked up, gave a wide gaping smile with wide eyes to match as she proudly proclaimed to the class, “EFF!”
Oh what I’ve done to these kids…