"Teacher! What's your name?"
And again, the "th" dipthong proved to be their undoing. "Kasserine," they murmured, much like my brother used to pronounce my name. ("Kasserine" is actually how you write it in Hangul, since there's no character for "th.") I made a half-hearted attempt at being a "Kate" but no dice. All the better, I'm quite attached to my long-ass English name.
"Where are you from?"
"Pennsylvania, in the United States."
And then: "Teacher! Park Chan-ho team!"
"Yeah, Park Chan-ho team, that's right. World Series champs!"
(Aside: apparently the two American baseball teams that get reliable coverage here are the Indians and the Phillies, courtesy of Korea's two big baseball superstars.)
One of my students had a White Sox cap, which I pointed out.
"White Sox fan?"
Which surprised me, I thought the popularity of White Sox hats here was largely due to the artsy look of the logo and not because anyone actually liked them. I think of the White Sox as being one of the more obscure MLB teams.
"Do you have Korean name?"
"No, no one's given me one yet!"
A boy with the English name Edward suggested 유사, or Yusa, but no one really seemed enthusiastic about it. Then I got an idea.
"My last name in English," I said, and wrote 꼬바 on the board.
"Kasserine Koba," some of them murmured.
"So is Koba a good Korean name? Can I use that?"
So now I have a Korean name. I guess.
Before I did any of the planned activities, I had them fill out little surveys to give to me, to help me learn their names and also get a sense of what they were like. So precious! Here are some of the best ones:
Introduce me about every thing!
Hello! My name is Jong so-hee, English name is Winne [sic]. I like food and listen to music. My favorite subject is social studies.
1. Korean Name: 뱨석ㅎᅳᅵ (Bae Suk Hee)
2. English Name: forum [sic]
3. Interests/hobbies: basketball
4. Favorite subject: P. E., English, Social Study, Science
My Korean name: 김민강 [Ed. Note: Kim Min Kang]
My English name: Dan
My hobby is play soccer or baseball
My favorite subject is math and P.E.
1. Korean Name: Kim min sik (김민식)
2. English name: Steven
3. Interests/hobby: jumping rope, soccer
4. Favorite subject: sciense [sic]
I also have another student named "Hey," and a girl named "Teeny." They speak English better than my other students, but they still can't all spell their names. Worrisome.