Trans-Pacific Potty Humor

It all began with the most sincere, and innocent, question:

“Teacher, what is fart?”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This, my friends, is why I got into teaching. Sure, I’ve tackled grammar before, once showed a video on anorexia which featured a girl puking into glass jars and storing them in her closet (wouldn’t that get expensive?) six-seven times in a day, been punched in the chest by an angry sixth-grader. It’s all part of a normal day’s work when you’re employed by some of the United States’ worst school systems. But not once during those experiences did I ever expect to have to teach “fart” to a classroom full of attentive Korean children.

All of which were factors in me taking a job teaching in Korea. I did the least amount of research possible before coming over, to ward off arriving with preconceived notions on how things should be. I wanted to be ready for anything. But nothing could have prepared me for this:

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Teaching a unit on pulling practical jokes on a teacher! I, of course, had to quickly point out that no one in the world would ever call a whoopee cushion a “fart cushion.” Such a word doesn’t exist in America. It should, but it just doesn’t. (I didn’t, however, contradict the book on the amazing value of whoopee cushions even if you’ll never buy one that works. They’re like those comic book x-ray glasses; only this dream never died.)

The kids have accents, obviously everyone does. And you do your best not to notice. Until you hear said accent say “fart.” Then you lose it. The kids, meanwhile, have no clue what a fart is. How do you explain it? It’s practically one of the first words you learn in English. It’s a building block from which the language is built.

So you belt out the loudest raspberry you can so that even the students in the back can hear you. This is an important lesson. The most important lesson.

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I feared my Korean experience had peaked too soon, but then a week later I was tasked with explaining to the kids how one can clean a toilet using Coca-Cola. I’m finally living the (fetid) dream!

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