April 27, Decibel

“Teacher can you draw a heart around my name?”

I was in the middle of teaching sixth grade about the months and had streamlined the lesson so that we wrote the months together and I wrote the names of students with birthdays in those months.

The catch was I wrote their names in Korean which they found amusing or engaging depending on the class, and everyone was happy to practice “My name is…” if it meant I would write it on the board.

I conceded and drew a heart around this student’s name.

When I turned around, ten more hands shot up, boys and girls alike, asking for the same. I complied. Until we reached one boy.

The class said, “write ‘he’s a liar’ next to his name!” Earlier Seojun had told me a name different than the one on his desk.

“Like this? 양심이?” I asked. “Yes, and draw an X through it because he has none!” everyone but the boy in question told me, while he weakly protested then gruffly agreed. It translates to, “he has no conscience”.

Later, a student named Yongjun told me his birthday was in September.

“Yongjun? How do you spell that? 영—”

“No, 용 as in 용 for dragon.” The kids shouted.

I paused and held back laughter.

“Listen, that’s adorable that you think I know the word for dragon and I appreciate this new knowledge.” I muttered at them. Sixth graders think I know both obscure Korean words and Chinese…

Aside from Seojun, who allegedly has no conscience, all the others screamed their affirmations once I had successfully spelled 용준.

The teacher, the friendly one from yesterday, told me after class she was surprised to see me write their names in Korean.

I mean, I’d hope so after almost two years! I cleared the lowest bar! However, I’m not even on par with the fourth graders so I’ll take compliments where I can.

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