Terminator Vs. Robocop

One day, a little terminator was running around the battlefield. He ran over a fighting robocop and hit him up! The robocop hit the terminator with his head. “Please kill me!” said the terminator. “Let me kill and how know? I will kill you.” The robocop laughed. “Kill me? A little terminator? Ha! Ha! Just kill.” said the robocop. The next day, two terminators put a bomb in the robocop hotel. The robocop got touch in the bomb. The terminator laughed and burial, but he couldn’t die. The terminator heard the robocop. He came and bomb a big hole in the throw. He help the robocop die. “Thanks for kill me I want to die” said the robocop. “And I’m sorry. Now I know that I will die. Bye!”

This story was written by Carol. Carol is actually a boy. I wish the Korean teachers would listen to me when giving a new student an English name. A co-teacher recently approached me to ask “How do you spell the name ‘Cabin’?”. I replied that there is no such name, and that a cabin is in fact a wooden structure often built in forests. ‘You know, like a ‘log cabin’?’. But the reply comes ‘No, here Cabin is a name. How do you spell it?’. ‘Oh, you must mean Kevin. K-E-V-I-N’. ‘No, not Kevin, Cabin. C-A-B-I-N.’ She knew how to spell it. What was the point in asking me then, other than to prove a twisted point? A point that eludes me.

Each of my classes at school now has a bi-weekly writing class. I set the theme of the story and provide on-site troubleshooting while the creative areas of their brains, shrunken from underuse, start getting down to work. I certainly didn’t set the theme of ‘Robot blood-bath’. It was something flowery. ‘Two cute little animals make friends in the most surprising of circumstances’, perhaps. This was the result. I’m very fond of how at the beginning, it is the terminator who wants to die, but at the end comes a twist and it is the robocop who  wished for euthanasia. He duly gets his wish. My favourite moment is the excellent use of the word burial. It comes out of nowhere and masterfully gets the point across.

On my birthday, I received a letter from Ray. Ray is a little girl, so please dispel any images of an obese, ageing gangster from the East-End of London. Do my teachers use a joke website to come up with these names? I met a Korean girl recently who was devastated when I told her that her choice for a new English name was traditionally male. Rory. I only know one Rory, and he’s a fat, bearded English comedian. What is wrong with these people? And what’s wrong with names like Lucy, Rachel and Emma for girls? Instead, we are naming boys after sheds and girls after serial killers. I’m going to suggest that we call the next girl ‘Horatio’, and the next boy ‘Mausoleum’ – I think they would go down well here. The letter was written on pink paper and intended as a tribute to me, but it really just made me sad. It highlights the danger of using a dictionary to translate every single word, even conjunctions, and taking the first word the dictionary throws up each time. I knew all the words on their own, but together it was just terribly strange and I felt uncomfortable and unsure of myself after. Brace yourselves.

“Teacher birthday congratulation giving is late but.
I am Ray.
Small the futures and letter send, like afterwords *heart* dialogue tries with Korean.
Low price English still and well does not receive the help of computer.
Is like that but my mind being put in the small middle ear treat!!
Character now ends.
Today one day *heart* when is happy become.
Birthday congratulates.
By- By- *heart*”

Wrapped up inside this letter, presented to me as a scroll, was an even smaller letter on pink paper. My heart sank further.

“Dear Ben *heart*
Us to teach in future well. To afterwords birthday
date to infrom (sic) certainly.
Probably also the next birthday does not know like
this time the map which will have work. One day send,
today well, Happy Birthday Ben!
Your Student Ray”.

Despite the hearts and well-wishes, I really am left unsure how she feels about me. If it had been wrapped around a brick and hurled through my apartment window, I would assume my days were numbered and that somewhere within its text lay the code for the exact time and date when I would be killed by the 깡패 – the Korean mafia.

I handmake a lot of activities at school. Recently things have changed dramatically so I have a lot more leeway to create and implement my own material. I am rising to the challenge, making a portfolio to show to future employers and having a lot of fun along the way. You can get kids to do pretty challenging work as long as you throw in the opportunity to draw a picture on the same piece of paper, even better if you throw some freshly sharpened colouring pencils into the deal. Today, I challenged them to write a letter to an agony-aunt type character named Mr Know-it-all, and then to follow it up with an imagined response. My catchphrase at work has become ‘Use your 상상 !’. 상상 reads ‘sang sang’ and is Korean for ‘imagination’. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to many Korean kids who have had it either drummed out of them, or the opportunities to exercise it are so few and far between that that part of their brain has shrivelled up. So, 상상s at the ready, some of my favourite girls got stuck into this activity. I sat back and wrote a letter of my own to Mr Know-it-all.

“Dear Mr Know-it-all,
My name is John Rambo and I’m a Vietnam War veteran. I have a problem. I really like killing people. Lots of them. I sometimes can’t find any people to kill so I have taken to dispatching entire families of baboons, high up in the jungle canopy. It’s quite easy to kill a baboon. You just creep up behind one and push it off the branch whilst it’s asleep. At night, I hear the screams of fallen comrades and I remember the smell of rotting ditches in POW camps – I gaze up through gaps between bamboo shoots to see captors urinating upon me, and I think ‘Just you wait until I’m free, you’ll wish you’d never been born. Live for nothing, die for something etc’. Oh yes, back to my problem – what’s a good recipe for Raspberry flapjacks?”

I’ll be spending this Christmas skiing with friends in Korea. Have a splendid one.