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Saturday, 31 March 2007

Box cutters are for kids

You will encounter many things teaching English in a Korean classroom. For starters, you'll find out soon enough that your students are spies, they love to give you Korean names, they like to make fun of you, they like to watch TV in class, they sleep late due to studying all night, and they'll remember your birthday.

When you're not catching a glimpse of the sunset, you'll also find something very interesting in the pencil cases of many students: box cutters. That's right, instead of a conventional pencil sharpener, most kids use razors to sharpen their pencils or pencil crayons. It's crazy and it caught me off guard when I saw one of my elementary students take one out of his pencil case. That was a long time ago when I first started, so now it's old hat to me. But it is really weird seeing a student hunched over the garbage can, sharpening a pencil by shaving it with a box cutter.

Hey, why let the students have all the fun? If they can have UV light pens, I can too. So why not add a box cutter to my desk drawer? This was already in my desk when I started the job. I now know why it was there...to sharpen pencils! My students have their "pencil sharpeners" in an assortment of colors. Mine just looks like a box cutter (also known as a pen knife in Singapore--thanks lu!).

Would you want your child going to school with this in their pencil case?

By the way, Happy April Fool's Day!

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Lily said...

hey - I'm actually here in Korea now and starting to teach tommorrow. :) I actually fell for your post to, just for a second!

Gdog said...

Hi Lily. Wow, good luck with your first day!

Actually the post is REAL...I'm not joking, I just wanted to throw in the Happy April Fool's Day. Thanks for the heads up!!

sue said...

Hello Gdog,
Been lurking here for quite some time, but I can't help to comment on this. I was quite surprised the korean students use box cutters to sharpen their pencils. I use to sharpen my pencil with a pencil sharpener until I was taught to use box cutter when I entered an art college. Makes longer lasting nibs erm.. and cater to sketching strokes. I'm stuck to that now. ^^ I wonder if your students do it for some similar reason.

Gdog said...

Hi Sue, thanks for posting a comment!
Yeah, it seems like they want their pencil crayons nice and sharp when they are marking homework.

lu said...

hey! its called penknife in singapore! HAHAH! : P
i think korea is cool!
have fun there!: )

shnaggy said...

hello gdog,

i have worked with korean students here in ph...i know for a fact they have complete stuff in their pencil cases. i find it odd that guys 15 above bring pencil cases really full of pens, cutters, and all...heheh

Gdog said...

Hi shnaggy,

That is very interesting that you also noticed some similar observations in the PH! It's quite humorous...fully armed for battle--studying that is!

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