My vs. Our

My last trip to Korea I had a friend explain to me why I can’t introduce family as “my mom, my dad, etc.” He said they use “our mom, our brother, etc.” I thought this really interesting and completely in contrast with the US.

I can’t speak Korean, but in learning the few phrases I have, I’ve already noticed a change in the mindset of Korea vs. US. In Korea, and probably most of Asia, the idea within the family is “OUR”, whereas in America, everything is “MY”. In Korea, within the family, everything is shared; house, money, food, child raising, parent caretaking. And it spills over into friendships; paying for meals, bringing back gifts from trips. Even something so simple as grabbing an extra coffee for coworkers in the morning regardless of whether or not you’ve asked. It’s IN THE CULTURE to think of others. I really love this. I find myself saying “my” and “mine” so often, and I see how it’s led me to be stingy with my money and possessions. It’s hard for me to freely give because I’m always looking out for #1. I wonder how our society might benefit from letting go of a possessive attitude to a shared attitude. I mean, it’s things…stuff, for cryin’ out loud.

Confessions of an ESL Teacher

Starting my day with a cup of coffee in my cute kitty mug

  • I have this ridiculously cute kitty mug that only sad and lonely cat ladies own. And while I hope to never be a sad and lonely cat lady, I literally laugh with utter delight every time I look at this mug thinking, “Are those not the cutest faces you ever did see?”
  • I’m, actually, a horrible English teacher. Enter: Exercise Club – a chance for me to sow my wild exercise-knowledge oats.
  • Some lessons I get by on personality alone. The girls seem to love it when I’m practicing roll call by relating their English names (in efforts to commit them to memory) to either a song, food, or saying. Ex: One of my girl’s name is Ella. So every time I call roll, I sing the Rihanna song “Under My Um-ba-rella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh…”
  • I don’t know what they find so entertaining about this white-skinned foreigner, but whatever it is, dear God, make it last! I have few problems with attendance, attention, participation, or attitude.
  • I realized, after giving a brief explanation on present continuous, that my example the other day (intended for a gerund) was, in fact, a present continuous example. I’m hoping, just like they can’t remember the difference between he/she, that was just as easily forgotten. (Have I mentioned how lucky they are to have me?)
  • We’re suppose to have two 45 min periods per class group. I let my students vote. If we take the 10 min break in between, we go until the bell. If we don’t, we get out 10 min earlier than everyone else. I bet you can guess what they vote for. They love me for it. (I don’t think that’s bribery, is it?)
  • It’s so cold here, I think I’ve showered twice this entire week. Even with working-out, it’s hard to justify a shower when I don’t seem to get that dirty, it’s painful when getting out of the shower, my hair does better with a little grease in it, and there’s no one getting close to me. (Now THAT’S a confession I’m sure will have me beating the guys off with a stick even after this China stint is over.)
  • I secretly would rather my girls learn confidence than perfect English upon finishing my course.
  • If the school doesn’t see anything wrong with giving me my schedule the day before class starts, I don’t have a problem turning in my syllabi the day they’re due, toward the latter part of the semester.
  • I love the laxity of China. No school in America would ever hire me….especially not after this blog.

To be continued…