Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How Old Are You?

I'd been tipped off prior to arriving that the #1 question I'd be asked in Korea is: how old are you? Had no idea that the students would be the ones constantly posing it. During a class observation today, one girl alone asked me at least ten times. When I finally told her my actual age (after providing multiple false answers), she didn't believe me. The oddest question I got was in reference to my teeth: are they implanted? Not sure if that was a knock on Californians' obsession with implants or if my teeth look peculiar... either way, it amused me. The students' bluntness, juxtaposed with their unusual focal points, definitely adds to the quirkiness of being an ESL instructor and keeps things entertaining.

I found out my class schedule. Starting Friday I'll be teaching reading for various levels as well as science (!). Fortunately the science class is a lower level one, so no need to bust out a physics book. I will, however, need to brush up on climates, solar systems, and photosynthesis and probably review cell construction, too. Laughing as I remember my high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Hay, telling my parents in her thick Scottish accent that I'd never be a scientist.

Training seems to be going well; I feel I'm absorbing a lot, and today was less overwhelming than yesterday. A few colleagues and I grabbed dinner after work. They're nice girls and were very helpful in answering my many questions. They also all read and/or speak some Korean which they claim is easy to pick up. Am planning to set aside time to learn the alphabet and some common phrases since I think it'll pay dividends, and yes, learning is its own reward. Since the subways shut down after midnight, I took my first solo cab ride back home after dinner -went fine, although once again communication was a challenge. More incentive to learn conversational Korean!


  1. students always asked that question "how old are you?"..

  2. Hi, Jeff!

    Am I supposed to tell them the real number? Isn't it enough that I'm their teacher and older than them?! Hope you're doing great. Keep in touch.

  3. I always find it interesting to find out from students how old they think I's usually something like 20 or gotta love that.

  4. great suggestion, marc. i got a wide spectrum of answers today when i employed that method. some were ego-boosting and some not so much ;)

    hope you're doing great. please keep in touch.