“Teacher, you were eaten by a crocodile?”

Another day at school, another gem from my elementary students. Today one little bright spark asked me, in all sincerity, if I had been eaten by a prehistoric crocodile. 110 million years ago.

We were talking about fossils, and in the book was an article about a huge crocodile fossil, found in South America. That should have been her first clue right there; I’m very clearly not from South America. Secondly, the fossil dated from 110 million years ago (I’m trying not to take that bit as an insult).

The book went on to explain that the crocodile was 21 feet long, and its jaw alone measured 5 feet. The students didn’t really understand how long 5 feet actually was, so I told them that as I am just over 5 feet tall, the length of the crocodile’s jaw was the same as my height.

That was when I noticed one kid staring at me with a mixture of confusion and concern. “Teacher, you were eaten by a crocodile?”.

I made the rookie mistake of responding with sarcasm. “Yes. Yes, I was”. I instantly regretted it as her expression changed from confused to horrified.

“Teacher, did it hurt?”

Oh. My. God.

“Teacher, firebomb spelling?”

I have spent the last couple of weeks teaching my 8 year olds about the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’. At least, I thought I had.

We finished the chapter by making posters to show what our needs are and what our wants are. Rather predictably the girls drew cutesy teddy bears, ice cream sundaes and roller skates complete with lots of pink hearts and smiley faces.

The girls’ poster…

I was in the middle of helping the girls draw an ice cream sundae when one of the boys piped up “Teacher, firebomb spelling?”. I was just about to spell it out when I suddenly thought ‘What?!’.

I looked at what the boys had drawn and I saw guns, knives, arrows…and a hamster. Slightly concerning.

…and the boys’ poster!

Where did I go wrong?

R.I.P. Mr. Grasshopper

As any one of my family and friends will tell you, I don’t cope well with insects. If it has more than four legs, I don’t want to know. Unfortunately for me, there are a fair few creatures that have more than four legs scuttling around Korea at this time of year.

I’ve already had to contend with several cockroaches, a monster of a stag beetle (don’t listen to what Nathan says, it really was 12 centimetres long), and that’s not even including what I’ve eaten.

This all brings me to the story of Mr. Grasshopper. Yesterday, one of my co-teachers came in to tell me that there was ‘a big, green bug’ in the computer room. There it was, lurking next to one of the speakers. I think it was a grasshopper, maybe a cricket, I’m not really sure what the difference is, but we’ll call it a grasshopper. Whatever it was it definitely had more than four legs.

I called some of the boys in to see it, and I won’t lie to you, I did spot an opportunity here to convince one of the kids to take their new friend outside meaning I wouldn’t have to go near the thing myself.

The boys weren’t the least bit fazed by it, and the poor thing was passed from one sticky little hand to another. In fact, one of them wanted to keep it for show and tell and another tried to put it in his mouth. What the obsession is with eating bugs here I will never know.

Apologies for the poor photography, I only had my phone on me and the kids were moving quite a lot!

I ran to grab my camera from the teachers’ room but by the time I got back to the classroom the kids had all gone back to playing with their Lego. No sign of Mr. Grasshopper. Hmm.

Mr. Grasshopper’s Lego house

Me: Where is the bug now?

Kid 1 (without looking up from his Lego): Trash can.

Me: What? Why is it in the trash can??

Kid 1: It’s dead.

Kid 2: Dead.

Kid 3: It’s killed.

Kid 4: Very dead.

I looked in the trash can (damn Americanisms) and sure enough, there he was, lying crumpled at the bottom of the bin. So that was the end of Mr. Grasshopper. A dignified burial among pencil sharpenings, sweet wrappers, and tteokbokki sauce. R.I.P. Mr. Grasshopper.

‘My Family’ by Colin, aged 8

One of the many things I have learned from teaching is that kids are, at times, unpredictable. However, when I asked my class of 8 year olds to draw pictures of their families last week, this definitely was not what I was expecting!

Most of the children drew pretty pictures of their families standing outside a cottage, surrounded by rainbows, flowers and hearts.

But not this one. Oh no. This one drew something a little different.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but I’m not entirely sure which words this picture is saying…

‘Venus’ – Shinhwa

Shinhwa’s latest song ‘Venus’ is my new favourite K-pop song of the moment! It is currently sitting at number 8 in Soompi’s weekly K-pop chart and I cannot stop listening to it!

I was first introduced to this song when I walked into my classroom last week to see Tony, one of my favourite 8 year olds, dancing round the room singing at the top of his voice. As with most K-pop hits he had the lyrics and the dance routine practised to perfection.

The only problem is that, unfortunately, Tony is one of those kids who can’t pronounce his ‘V’s properly…

TEFL Dinosaur Comics

I realise that there are several versions of this circling the internet at the moment, but here is Wonderland’s little contribution! Seeing as they’re penned by 12 and 13 year olds most of them centre around dinosaurs fighting, killing each other and just being stupid!

T-Rex: I am scared of many things but also others are scared of me!

I don’t know why!

T-Rex: Wow! It’s a lovely house!

T-Rex: This house is such small for me. But I want to get in!!

Utahraptor: He’s such bad!

T-Rex: I can’t get in!!!

Utahraptor: You are the one who scared my brother!?

T-Rex: Hugh?

Utahraptor: Go away you big moster!

T-Rex: Waaaa!

T-Rex: Yummy food over there!

People: Wow!

T-Rex: Black holl!

Utahraptor: Ice!!

Utahraptor: Ice beam!

Museum for 10 years

People: WOW!

T-Rex: There is a horrible human there in the house!

T-Rex: Oh gosh! It’s coming out! I’ll crash it!

T-Rex: I think it’s a bug?

Utahraptor: What’s that?!

T-Rex: Hmm?

Utahraptor: Wha…what’s that?

T-Rex: It’s a bug I think.

Utahraptor: Let me see. No! It’s just a toy!

T-Rex: Oh my! I think I’m crazy it’s not moving at all!!!

T-Rex: Nowadays I’m too fat so I’m fasting. But I’m hungry.

T-Rex: So I will eat human meats.

T-Rex: Hey you! Go out in here.

Utahraptor: Here is my territory.

T-Rex: Then fight!

1 hours after

T-Rex: Ha ha!

Utahraptor: Oh my god!

T-Rex: I am crazy monky dinosaur. I will destroy a village.

T-Rex: Ha ha! Grrr

T-Rex: Uga uga!

Utahraptor: Ha ha ha!

Person: Oh my god!

Utahraptor: Such a foolish

T-Rex: Who said me foolish?!

T-Rex: You?

Utahraptor: Yes!

T-Rex: You will go to universe!

Utahraptor: Please rivive me!

T-Rex: I don’t want to rivive you! Ha ha! Such a crazy

Utahraptor: A

T-Rex: I want to play with friends!

T-Rex: Hey! Let’s play together!

T-Rex: What! ….. you!

Utahraptor: No I don’t want to play with you!

T-Rex: Can you play with me?

Utahraptor: Yes I can.

T-Rex: Really? Okay.

Utahraptor: Now I have to go now.

T-Rex: Bye! Bye!

T-Rex: I will ditroy the house!

T-Rex: Hhm…and then I will eat the house!

T-Rex: Okay! Yeah!

Utahraptor: I want to do too!

Dinosaurs: Grahhh!

T-Rex: Let’s go together and distroyed the house!

Utahraptor: Ok! Let’s go!

T-Rex: Wow!

Girl is distroy the …

T-Rex: I want to destroyed the house.

T-Rex: Oh there is it.

T-Rex: Emm. Ha ha. I will destroyed the house.

Utahraptor: Oh no, my house (cry)

T-Rex: I will destroyed your house.

Utahraptor: Okay, but let’s play.

T-Rex: Ok. What kinds of play?

Utahraptor: Let’s play hiding. You find me okay.

For long time

T-Rex: Where are you? And where is the house. Oh, no.


T-Rex: AKK

T-Rex: AKK!!!

T-Rex: I’m sorry

Utahraptor: AKK!

T-Rex: I’m sorry

Utahraptor: AKK!!

T-Rex: Why are you say AKK?

T-Rex: Yum! Yum! The candy is very sweet! Yum.

T-Rex: Oh no! Ouch! I think I eats so much candys!

T-Rex: Grrrr. Im very angry. I want to punch this house.

Utahraptor: Don’t do that!

T-Rex: Why! Im angry

Utahraptor: Look you do this and person is dangure

T-Rex: Ok! Thank you

There dinosaur

Dinosaur is scary

Dinosaur smash the house

Dinosaur is two

Dinosaur is fighting

Green dinosaur are win

There is a dinosaur

Dinosaur roared

Dinosaur was chasing a white dinosaur and he didn’t know he squash the house

And he was surprise

How dinosaur knows what is it!

And dinosaur squash a house one more time

T-Rex: I’m hungry.

T-Rex: There a prey.

House: Oh my god!

Utahraptor: Who are you?

T-Rex: I’m scary dinosaur.

Utahraptor: I’m super dinosaur!

T-Rex: Where is the prey?

Happy White Day!

So, White Day 화이트데이 is finally here! After a month of torment and sleepless nights I will finally find out whether my Valentine will reciprocate my gift and my love (we’re about to celebrate our 6 year anniversary so he’ll be in the doghouse until next year’s White Day if he doesn’t!)

Although the 14th of every month has some kind of romantic significance for Korean couples (see here!), the 14th of February, March and April are the most widely celebrated. The girls give chocolates to their loved ones or crushes on February 14th, and the guys then have a month to consider their options before giving a present to the girls in their life on White Day.

White Day is observed in several countries across east Asia, including Japan, China, Taiwan and of course, South Korea. It was first celebrated in Japan during the 1970’s, after the National Confectionery Industry Association proposed an ‘answer day’ to Valentine’s Day. Consequently, many people think of White Day as nothing more than an elaborate marketing ploy, created purely to boost confectionery sales.

The tradition began by giving marshmallows or white chocolate, but recently gifts of jewellery, cosmetics and even designer handbags have become popular. According to department store statistics, the spending on White Day is much higher than during Valentine’s week, and increases by 10-20% each year. Unfortunately for the boys, they are expected to splash out a lot more than the girls!

Happy White Day!


Valentine’s Day at Wonderland

This gallery contains 15 photos.

Unlike Christmas, Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day, February 14th was a rather understated affair at Wonderland. A few token gifts were exchanged between kids but apparently the real excitement happens on White Day (March 14th)! Nevertheless, the romantic in me … Continue reading

Meeting the parents

The dreaded meeting of the parents. Open class. Three open classes to be precise.

Today I had my first open classes at Wonderland. The time when parents get a completely unrealistic and airbrushed view of their little angels at work. Work that they have been rehearsing and learning off by heart for the last two weeks. After the lesson is over, the parents all have a meeting with the principal and we are ‘invited’ to talk to them for a few minutes and tell them what we think of the class. Although I’m pretty sure if I told some of those parents what I really think of their darling children I’d be trawling the Job Centre website instead of writing this.

The first one, Oak Class (my little angels!), went predictably without a hitch. At least, until after the class was over. I’d just had my meeting with the parents (cue the inevitable ‘how old are you?‘ and ensuing gasps) and we had a few minutes left until the next class started so, as you do, we decided we’d play ‘choo choo train’. Fairly self explanatory, we all choo choo around the school corridors pretending to be a train picking up passengers. All was going well until we had a little choo choo collision and one of the boys turned to me with blood pouring (yes, pouring) out of his mouth and a big gap where his tooth should have been. I went into utter panic, imagining his mum coming out of the meeting and discovering that I had broken her son’s face. Fortunately by the time they had finished I had managed to wad some cotton wool where the tooth should have been and mopped up all the blood so I think I got away with it. And he did say it had been wobbly for a while.

The second one this afternoon was pretty dull really after that. Out of all my classes this one has the least English and the parents don’t speak English at all so I was tempted to just talk utter rubbish to see if anyone noticed but I decided against it. It was also the one with the terrible twins so I didn’t want to do anything that could possibly spark another tantrum.

Two down, one more tomorrow morning, and then I can breathe a big sigh of relief. Until we do it all over again in three months time…

Kids say the funniest things

This was the highlight of my day at school, I thought it was hilarious, so I just thought I’d share it with you. I was doing a speaking class this afternoon and the topic was ‘Space’. We were talking about planets and I asked ‘do you know the names of any other planets?‘ to which one of the boys replied, in all seriousness, ‘Africa‘.