Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real conversations...

Level 1 students entering room, one scares me...
Me: ¡Infarto! (heart attack)
Students: What? Fart? Did you say fart? Did you fart?
Me: No, infarto... significa heart attack.
Students: What, fart?
Me: [laughing] no, INfarto... you heard the word fart and you stopped listening. It's infarto. Uy, freshman.
Students: [laughing] fart... she said fart! Mrs. Karly said fart.

[Same students/class, but a different day...]

Me: My kids in the other class...
Students: What? You have kids?
Me: No, I don't have kids, I meant my students in the other class... you didn't let me finish.
Students: Why don't you have kids?
Me: [sigh]... because I don't feel qualified to be a mother.
Student A: But you're married!
Me: Yes, but that's only half of it.
Student B [punky, freshman boy]: You should have babies. I want to hold them and play with them!
Students: Yeah, you should have kids! When are you going to?
Me: Maybe one day, but not anytime really soon, okay?
Students: Awwwww, darn.
Me: Aaaaaand we're done. Now back to what I was saying, my kids in the other class... [lesson continues]

[Same class, same day...]

Student A [another punky, freshman boy]: You pretty today, Mrs. Karly.
Me: Why thank you.
Students: Yeah, you look beautiful. Did you do something different?
Me: Yep... I didn't brush my hair today.
Students: [laughing] Why not?
Me: I didn't have time. I had 15 minutes to get ready so I did the important things: dunked me hair in water, brushed my teeth, threw some clothes on and put on deodorant.
Students: You should do that everyday, you look beautiful.
Me: Uhmmm... okay, thanks!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can I punch you?

Little kids are so funny. Some of them have no concept of "personal space" and this has become particularly evident to Mike as he calls his kids over to him during class... they are all over him, practically tackling him as they race over. One little guy in third grade not only decided to race over to Mike and be pressed up against him, but touch Mike's stomach. His response to touching him stomach was, "Ooooh, six pack... can I punch you?" Mike's initial response was, "No, you can't punch me..." but then gave in because a) Mike's a guy and likes to prove his "manliness" and b) the kid really was disappointed. So the kid wound up and punched Mike in the stomach and thought it was THE coolest. Kids were practically lining up then to punch Mike. HA!

Other funny comments from the elementary kids:
(Korean) student: You're married?
Mike: Yes.
(Korean) Student: Is your wife Thai? (Many of the American men teachers here are married to a Thai woman)
Mike: No, she's Korean
(Korean) student: What's her name?
Mike: Mrs. Karly
(Korean) student: No, what's her REAL name?
Mike: Oh... Seon Ah

Student: (after seeing us together) Is that your wife?
Mike: Yes
Student: Why didn't you marry an American?
Mike: She is American

Monday, September 14, 2009

Coge tu sombrero y póntelo, vamos a la playa, calienta el sol

"Grab your hat and put it on, we're going to the beach, the sun is warm."

And that's exactly what we did when we went to Koh Samet, an island in Thailand known for it's beaches. We went with another teaching couple, Ann and Paul Westerink and their baby girl, Keddy. It was beautiful and we enjoyed a weekend free of school work.

On the 2.5 hour drive there...

Waiting at the ferry station... where some not very nice guy ripped everyone off, but people didn't stand up to him and his not very nice self. If only the Tourist Police would have been there so as to not allow the guy to pocket excess cash! But it's a corrupt system in many ways, and there's not too much that you can do about it... [sigh]

Our bungalow room. I forgot to take more pictures, but this place had an "outdoor" private shower. It was quite exotic to be showering with trees above you and butterflies roaming!

The fire show we went to our first evening there. It was pretty spectacular to see these guys throwing torches in the air, while dancing around, standing on their friend's shoulders, etc. I for one would never be talented or coordinated enough to throw a baton around, none the less, one that was lit on fire...

Around the resort and at the beach...

Only in Thailand will you find...
...Mike so excited for Starbucks coffee that is WAY over priced,

Wai-ing statues everywhere...
...including Ronald McDonald,
...and a bathroom sign that doesn't make women feel all that comfortable. hehehehe!!!

We had a fun trip, but we were glad to come home! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My students sometimes blow me away when I least expect it. I have four examples of their awesomeness within just the last two days... and I really feel like bragging about them. :)

1. My AP students had their first in-class debate. Prior to coming to class they had to research the pros and cons of going "paperless" as a school, thus each student having their own laptop. As it was their first debate ever in the history of their Spanish education, and it is still the beginning of the year, I had ridiculously low, low expectations. I seriously thought that the debate would last no longer than 5-6 minutes. After drawing names as to which side they would take, having 8 minutes to consult with their teammate, 25-30 minutes later... and I had to literally FORCE them from talking because we had so many other things to do the rest of the hour. It was all in Spanish with only a few made-up Spanglish words and hints of yucky grammar/pronunciation, but it was incredible... my jaw was nearly on the floor the whole time. They MAKE me look good.

2. At the end of each chapter in the textbook, my level 3 students have a difficult but cultural reading. The former Spanish teacher skipped over these readings as he said they thought they were too difficult, especially the ones that were poems. I debated whether to do the same or not, but these kids are so weak in the area of reading, I decided to forge on, despite the difficulty of the text. Plus, this first text was a poem by Pablo Neruda as well as his biography... and I just LOVE Neruda's poetry, so I couldn't pass it up! I created some accompanying activities to help make the text a little more "user-friendly," but still didn't expect too much from them as they were supposed to read the poem, read the biography, and then see how they could possibly parallel in some very obvious, but also some very abstract ways... which is difficult enough to do in English! I was blown away by their ideas... they came up with things that I never even thought of! It was so neat to see how they totally rose up to the challenge and conquered!

3. My two level one classes have been a challenge in that they are full of (too much) energy. These last few weeks have been really full of teaching them the routines of Spanish class and learning how to channel their energy for "good..." at least for the good of Spanish class! It has been fun, yet challenging. Needless to say, they keep me on my toes and I really don't know what to expect from them. However, they have taken the new challenge of a foreign language and tackled it mightily. It's amazing to me how quickly they have learned to love a language, as well as how many A's there are in my classes. One of my classes took a quiz today and 19/25 of them got A's, 5/25 got B's, and 1/25 got a C... and this is even with a harder grading scale than most schools, where a 91% is actually a B+!

4. Still bragging about my level one classes... the former Spanish teacher said over lunch today, "Mrs. Karly, I have a bone to pick with you!" I got a little worried because I didn't know where the conversation was going and was wondering what I had done to offend him. He then continued to say "Your level one students keep coming into my Bible class and they always want to speak in Spanish!!" Oh how grateful I am for their enthusiasm and love of learning.

Despite how busy I am, despite feeling frustrated that I'm not always teaching with excellence, despite the craziness of my freshman students, despite the challenges of teaching AP Spanish... I LOVE my job. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. Thank you for supporting us in this journey and this ministry; we appreciate your loving prayers and words of encouragement... it means so much!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Flirtatious pork dumplings

Thai 101

This is what I've learned thus far:
1. I am tone deaf
2. I stink at Thai
3. Whomever it is that tries to teach me a phrase or word laughs at me when I try and usually says, "Uhm... that's kind of close," which when translated really means, "Actually you totally messed that word up big time and I have no idea what you are trying to say."
4. It's hard!!!

Today one of my students taught me how to say the word "dumpling" so that I can ask for dumpling soup. It sounds semi-like "gee-yow" (gee, like the letter "G") with a low tone that rises with the syllable "yow." She then said the word with the 5 different tones and I could barely distinguish between them. So technically I could be asking for dumpling soup, flirtatious soup, or lasso soup, depending on how I say the word. She then told me that it would be better if I ask for "gee-yow moo," which means pork dumpling. I laughed as I thought about asking for flirtatious pork dumplings. Bahahahaha! [Sigh]... this is so hard! :)