Didn't Bill Cosby once have a show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things?" If I recall, he'd interview kids about world issues or broad reaching subjects, and we'd all chuckle ourselves silly until we filled our colostomy bags. Their answers were invariably candid, precocious, and utterly lacking in tact or self-editing.
Cosby was right. Kids do say the darndest things. They also say really evil, inverted, acid-smoking existentially fucked up things. And they draw them:
This is a portrait of me - "Chris," or "grasopor (sic)." This is one of a series done by a particularly gifted and malignant little student. They usually feature me as a bloated, hairy pig man. I'm always wearing some sort of women's lingerie, usually heart embroidered panties as displayed above. The artist neglected to include the bra in the portait above, opting to instead accentuate what she perceives as my copious chest hair.
This is one of my esteemed students, who also just happens to be the creative force behind the masterpiece. Note the look of absolute sadism in her innocent brown eyes.
Some of the kids began calling me "grasshopper." This is just a variation of "Christopher." They are syllabically similiar, so I guess the leap isn't so hard to make.
Officially, I am known as "Chris Teacher." Some of the more respectful students will even address me as "Mr. Chris." This leads to another nickname:
"Miss 'tol' Christin."
"Miss 'tol'" is a play on the word "Mister." The clever little fucker who invented this one succeeded in both calling me a girl ("Miss") and ridiculing my arm hair ("tol," which is Korean for "body hair.") The children are obsessed with my arm hair. They constantly stare at it, pull at it, stroke it, and uncontrollably laugh at it.
"Christin," of course, is a play on "Chris," and turns me into a girl TWICE. This is an endless well of glee for the little hell spawn.
The children in one class began calling me "Cow." This was only after I forbade the use of the word "pig." "Pig" is a very mean word to use in English, though the children fling it around like a fifty cent frisbee, both in English and Korean (the Korean word is "twaeji"). They even use it to describe Derek Teacher, who is six three and nothing but bone and sinew. Recently some nefarious little fuckers told him that he was "100% fat." I pity the truly fat in this country. The abuse must be an endless torrent.
"Super Dung Man."
The same group of children mentioned above used to call me "Super Dung Man," but only on Fridays. This eminated from a white board drawing one of them did of me in which I was composed entirely of feces, complete with ravenous flies circling my poo-ey form.
I invented this one on my own. "Babo" basically means "dummy" or "moron" in Korean. The kids use it all the time and I think it's a hilarious word. It just sounds like what it is: dumb.
The evolution of this one is strange. It grew out of a card game I'd play with the kids called "Crazy Eights." This game consists of a deck of cards split into categories. One of the categories is "animals," and one of the cards is "gorilla," featuring a huge silverback ape. One student began referring to the card as "Super Gorilla." The idea of a "Super Gorilla" intrigued me, a gorilla even more savage and stupid than a regular gorilla. This eventually led to me channeling the "Super Gorilla." From time to time I will burst into a class room shrieking and grunting, pounding my chest and attacking the furniture. It's cathartic. The kids also totally freak out. It's like giving all of them a giant whap of pure sugar in the jugular. You know how you can rev up a puppy, how you can just bombard it with frenetic energy until it starts running aimlessly, back and forth through the room, biting at the air and growling at the carpet? Well you can do the same thing with children. They're basically just like puppies, only a lot meaner.
KILLING MY DRAGONFLY
I recently helped some of the kids put up a "Spring mural" in their classroom. We made construction paper flowers and grass. One of the kids made a sun and clouds. Another made a bee.
I made a dragonfly. The next time I came into class, I witnessed the following scene:
The kids had attacked my dragonfly with pins, impaling its the head and totally destroying one of its eyes. They said that it was very bad and that it deserved to die.
THE BABY GAME
The reason I know children are truly terrible beings is from my experience playing the "Baby Game" with them. It started off in one kindergarten class, where a particularly spunky and malicious little girl would point to any given object and shout, "Teacher - baby." I'd then take whatever object she pointed to - be it a book, an eraser, a pencil case, or even the clock on the wall - and stuff it under my shirt, as if pregnant. I'd then make a popping sound with my mouth, and the baby would then be born. And what would happen next? The WHOLE CLASS would ATTACK THE BABY. They would try and KILL THE BABY.
I still play this game from time to time, with two variations:
In the first, I stuff some tissue paper in my shirt and then pop it out. The class then grabs my "baby" out of my hands. They then look at me, giggling like SS Leprechauns, and proceed to RIP MY BABY APART. I scream "Oh, my baby! My baby!!!!" This only serves to accelerate the pace and intensity of the laughter, as well as the ripping apart of my progeny.
The second variation is the most simple. I just started playing it with some of my youngest class. I stuff a ball under my shirt and say, "Look at my baby." The youngest and cutest girl in the class then steps forward and pounds on my stomach with her fists, screaming in ecstasy like some sort of half formed harpy. I'm thinking of renaming this one the "Abortion or Miscarriage Game."
I love teaching here. I can get away with some sick shit. If this was America, I would have been fired after TWO HOURS.
Of course, the most sadistic game I ever played with the children is the legendary "How Do We Kill Chris Today?" game. I blogged on this many months ago.
(From November, 2004)
"YOU IS DIE."
It can be said that I'm a permissive teacher. I let my children get away with a lot in class. Most of these children to regular school all day and THEN have to come here for a couple more hours. How bad would that suck? To have to go to school after school? So you could say that I sympathize with their plight, that I have no interest in being Mr. Hardass, that I want them to learn English, but I want it to be fun. As long as they're practicing English, I let them get away with a lot. They can yell, they can hit me, they can call me names - whatever. It just has to be done in ENGLISH.
Case in point: my favorite afternoon class, consisting of only three kids. They are my most advanced class - the kids are firecrackers. These kids, like all kids, can also be evil little demon spawn bastards. So every day I start the class with informal English conversation. I ask them some basic questions and they answer. Early on I noticed that these kids had a morbid streak, that they entertained dark fanasies of death, carnage, and destruction (2 boys, 1 girl - and the girl is the evilest). Maybe this is a subconscious manifestation of living in a country that has always lived with the spectre of total war. I don't know really, but what I do know is that it didn't take long before I became the central figure in these fantasies. Now it's evolved into a daily ritual. Everyday, one by one, the kids go up to the marker board, and tell me, with the aid of an improvised diagram, how they will kill me. It's really cute and it's really fucked up.
Let me recount some of the scenarios:
Yesterday, little Peter said that he would pack me into a box filled with dynamite and drop me out of a plane into Iraq.
Little Louis was simpler in his plan, which basically involved kicking me off the top of a very tall mountain and me landing on dynamite.
Little Marie's (she had two) were the most elaborate, as usual. I didn't quite understand the first one, though it incorporated her shooting some sort of projectile at me that ended in dismemberment. The second fantasy resembled Peter's in that I was dropped out of a plane, only instead of Iraq I landed in "Aprika (sic)" where I was boiled in a pot by a bone-through-his-nose native. She's busted out the old style "African native" a few times. I don't know where she got that one, but Korea's still behind the curve when it comes to progressive views of black folks and Africa. You see some weird racist shit in the childrens' language books from time to time.
Marie is the star of the "let's kill Chris" game, since she really invented it. Her scenarious usually end in cannibalism, whether I'm served in rice or as "Chris-gogi (meat)."
Peter's are the most explosive. His usually involve dynamite or bombs. One time I was dropped into a dynamite-filled volcano.
Louis likes to employ animals. I have been eaten by both tigers and lions, as well as bitten by hundreds of deadly snakes. Once I was bitten by snakes after being cut into pieces by scores of knives.
Are these children showing an odd affection for me, or should I be afraid? Since these stories are done in English, I permit them, even though they can't be "appropriate" and I would be fired for such un-PC behavior back home. I doubt my school here would smile upon the exercise, though they may permit it, since they have told me they like the fact that I try and make learning fun for the kids.
But they're so cuuuuuuuuute....