During my first couple weeks at school, I tried my best to learn students’ real names, in Korean. Well, I’m obviously not the best at the language, and during my main getting situated time, I kind of gave up, but not really. I asked the kids if they wanted to choose English names, and the overall reaction was positive. I found a website that had 100 names for boys and 100 names for girls, and let the kids pick off the list or choose their own. Some kids got REALLY creative, others didn’t want to choose a name, so they just kept their own.
One student was really offended by me asking if he wanted an English name for our class. We meet just once a week, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal. Well, not exactly. Apparently I needed to brush up on my Korean history prior to offering names to students. The student who didn’t like the idea is great, one of my best students. After class he asked if he could talk to me about it. He told me that his grandparents were all forced to take Japanese names when they were young and in school, during the occupation. I had no clue about this. None at all. He said that he wanted to honor his family and always use his real, Korean name. I respected that and was sure to mention to the rest of my students that they didn’t have to take a name, it was just for fun.
Seriousness aside, there are some AWESOME kids in my school. One of my 8th grade classes has three boys, sitting in a row. They are collectively known as “Pepperoni Pizza.” Individually, there’s Pepe, Ronny, and Pizza. (Yeah, we couldn’t avoid that last one.) Class 2-6 has boys named Chocolate Milk, Strawberry Milk and Coffee Milk. Their choice, not mine. There’s a girl named Ryan and a boy named Sophie, and there’s the one younger student who is so androgynous that I still can’t tell picked the one name on both lists: Alex. I have 3 Baracks, 2 Lincolns, the names of a dozen K-pop bands, and I don’t even know how many girls named Amy.
There are a few students that tend to sit together that have awesome names as well. Angie and Emily sit together (as well as an Emily and Tyler in 9th grade), Hannah and Elizabeth sit together (close enough), Branden and Thomas (COUSINS!), and one of my favorite duos, BEN and JERRY sit together. I mentioned it on the first day, and they really didn’t get it. Sadly, B&J’s doesn’t exist here, only Haggen Daas. After everybody chose their names, I discovered two things: They must deep down love my Severns/Ray/Ehrenfelt family and my other family, the Brodericks, and food.
Yesterday, for my after school program, I was given an attendance sheet. It was all in Hangul (Korean). Nearly 6 weeks in and I was able to read most of the names well enough. I get by… (with a little help from my friends!)
Have a good day!
**Edit: There are 5 Jeremy kids in the 9th grade, and I’m pretty sure every 8th grade class has one, too.
Also, there are 4 boys who chose the name Donald. One is one of my after-school program kids, so he’s basically one of my favorites… And the others? Well, they’re on my list. Not the good one, either.