“Teachaa wear purple bras! I see her!”

Awkward moment a little while ago:

It started pouring down rain, and I realized that I had laundry out on the line (dryers are a luxury only for the majorly rich here) attempting to dry. I was wearing a pair of boxers and my bra, and ran outside into the rain to drag the laundry in. As I was frantically trying to undo the pins, I heard laughing, and looked up to see that two of my students, one boy, one girl, were standing on the small ledge that looks into my house’s courtyard, laughing at me.

Great. Never gonna live this one down.

I love living in the countryside, but the fact that I see my students EVERYWHERE means that I have very little privacy, which can actually get quite exhausting, over time, and often is actively irritating. This is a prime example, as is hearing “Teachaa, what beer you drink?” the next day at school after they see me sitting outside the Family Mart with the other foreigners, drinking. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about it, other than to continue to teach them that just because we’re foreigners doesn’t make their actions suddenly not rude.

There will be more on this topic later.

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5 Responses to ““Teachaa wear purple bras! I see her!””


  1. 1 denisermt August 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I used to be a teacher before a became a SAHM. I never taught in the city that I lived in for fear of bumping into my students. I totally feel your pain.

  2. 2 Tuttle August 3, 2008 at 1:27 am

    This is a teacher’s life. I spent many years teaching snd living in a small town, where I ran into families from my school in practically every shopping/dining/etc venue pretty regularly–not so much now that’s quintupled in population. If I have a 12-pack of maek-chu in my cart, that’s between me, Publix and Anheuser-Busch. Or maybe InBev.

    Oh, they may talk, but I don’t hear it, and don’t care. (Have had only two jobs, both private school in 21 years, the Korea gig is my third appointment.) It’s best to stay off the police blotter, though.

    If a student tries to embarrass me in class, usually I will make fun of the attempt–frankly, the teacher must quickly get in control of a situation like this; turn the tables, so what? I wish you were as interested in your studies are you are my undergarments/beverage selections/movie viewing/etc. Anyway, make light, get in a little dig, and get back on topic.

    But get on top right away, “nip it in the bud,” which is good advice in general. In the rare event of repetition of the behavior, a more elaborate confab is called for. Each teacher has his own management techniques, of course, but it is crucial that a lead teacher in a classroom have control of the room. I’m a “guide on the side” in much of my pedagogy, but everything that happens has … objectives and parameters.

  3. 3 jindowaygook August 3, 2008 at 2:49 am

    @denisermt: I don’t mind bumping into my students, in fact, they’re often very nice. What I DO mind is their rude remarks the next time they see me. They would NEVER say some of the things they say to me to another Korean, and so I have been trying to explain to them that just because I’m a foreigner does not make it okay to be rude to me.

    @Tuttle: The students here don’t do it to embarrass you, they do it because they don’t know any better. Students who love me say things like this just as often as students who hate me. There is something about Korean culture that separates foreigners from the rest of “humans”, and so we are often treated by different, lower standards. It’s not always a conscious thing, either. When I bring attention to my students’ behavior by saying something like “Would you say that to a Korean?” and they say “uhhh…uhhhh….no”, only then does it seem to dawn on them that they are subconsciously treating us foreigners as someone of a lower social stature. It’s highly irritating, but it’s hard to get TOO angry at them, as it’s not the students themselves, but the culture. There’s some good commentary on the topic here: Being a Foreigner in Korea

  4. 4 Rose August 7, 2008 at 8:15 am

    So I COULD comment on insider/outsider communication styles in Confucian-influenced cultures, buuuut … they know the word “bra”? Wow! That’s impressive! I don’t know it in Chinese or German. I haven’t had the need to discuss bras in a foreign language.

  5. 5 Driftingfocus August 7, 2008 at 11:36 am

    They’re middle school students, they feel it’s a “dirty word”, so it’s one they remember.


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