Elwood 5566

An Old Favourite – ‘The Supplanter’

Posted in Blogging, Education, esl by 노강호 on March 5, 2012

I’ve always enjoyed reading The Supplanter. Being a fellow Brit I enjoy his humour and we seem to share a common ground in our experience and analysis of Korean culture. Of more importance, it nearly always elicits a smile. When I first stumbled upon The Supplanter, around three years ago, I remember sitting up to the early hours of the morning reading some very amusing posts. Originally based in Korea, The Supplanter has relocated to China but he still publishes occasional posts on issues relevant to South Korea. The following is an extract from Teacher Bloopers:

Middle School, speaking test preparation after school class:

Me: ‘What’s your Father’s job?’

Student: ‘He no work’

Me: ‘He doesn’t work. Or you can say He is unemployed’

Student: ‘No, my Father dead’

Me: ‘Oh, erm, sorry to hear that’


Women’s University, Seoul, speaking test:

Me: ‘Describe your ideal man’

Student: ‘I don’t like men’

Me: ‘Why?’

Student: ‘I’m a lesbian’

Me: ‘Good answer’


At Elementary Summer Camp, Seoul, speaking to a parent about her son’s strange behaviour:

Me: ‘Your son pulls out his hair and tries to eat it. I’m very worried about him’

Mother: ‘Yes, he does that’

Me: ‘Do you know why?’

Mother: ‘The doctor says he’s worried about things. Stressed’

Me: ‘Yes, clearly he’s very stressed. What did the doctor say to do?’

Mother: ‘Oh doctor said he’d grow out of it and if it gets bad we can get a …? I don’t know the English …’ (Mimes)

Me: ‘A wig?’

Mother: ‘Yes! That’s it – Wig!’


Exiting from building in a Chinese university:

Me: [Walks into knee high metal bollard] OH FUCK ME!!!

[Shocked students turn to observe foreign teacher hobbling away in agony]

Me: [Looking up] ‘Oh, hello Dean … I …’


In conversation with a teaching assistant, University, China:

Me: ‘I really think you should change your English name, Enoch is not a good name if you’re British’

TA: ‘Why? I like it’

Me: ‘Well, it tends to make British people think of Enoch Powell, who was a racist politician’

TA: ‘You mean he hated black people?’

Me: ‘Well yes, amongst others …’

TA: ‘Me too’

Me: ‘Umm, that’s a terrible thing to say, but he’d also hate you too!’

TA: ‘Why? I’m not black!’

Me: ‘He didn’t like anyone who wasn’t white – or British – or not Christian’

TA: ‘Well, I’m not Christian, maybe he’d like me!’

Me: ‘… I think you’ve misunderstood, let me put it another way … Just change your name, ok?’


Responding to text from Female Chinese Student in Advanced English class:

Student: ‘I really like your class! Your so funny! But, I need some help, can I come and see you?’

Me: ‘Thank you, glad you enjoy the class. Come and see me before or after the lesson’

Student: ‘No, I mean we should meet up’

Me: ‘Yes, before or after lesson is fine’

Student: ‘No, I want to come to your apartment. We can hang out, watch a movie. I stay with you because dormitory close at midnght. Too early’

Me: ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea. Bye’


Middle school, Seoul, in conversation with the baseball coach:

Korean Teacher: ‘Discipline is hard these days … students think they can do what they want …’

Me: ‘Well, they’re much better behaved than English students’

KT: ‘Really? I always thought English people were well behaved’

Me: ‘No’

KT: ‘Hmmnn … I got suspended last semester because I disciplined a student’

Me: ‘Really? What happened?’

KT: ‘Oh I just hit his legs with a baseball bat … and not broke but …’

Me: ‘Fracture?’

KT: ‘Yes – fracture! His parents complain … so I got suspended. You can’t harm students these days, parents complain about everything …’

Me: ‘…’


Eliciting from low-level students, University, China

Me: ‘So, here are things you like [indicates board] But what about things you don’t like – or dislike?’

Students: [Silence]

Me: ‘What do you dislike? Don’t like?’

Student 1: ‘Hate?’

Me: ‘No. Too strong. Dislike – Don’t like.’

Student 1: ‘Japanese?’

Me: ‘What?’

Student 1: ‘Hate Japanese’

Me: ‘No, no … not hate … and not Japanese. Dislike – don’t like – Hate [gesticulates] too strong’

Student 2: ‘Japanese people?’

Me: ‘No, no, no!’

Student 3: ‘Japanese culture?’

Me: ‘No! something else – forget the Japanese’


Me: ‘Anything else you dislike – don’t like – but not the Japanese’

Student 1: ‘Chinese people … Chinese people cannot forget Japanese’

Me: ‘Ok – write on your sheets things you don’t like – dislike – but NOT JAPANESE’

Me: [Checking answer sheets] ‘So, everyone has written Japanese …’

Creative Commons License
©努江虎 – 노강호 2012  Creative Commons Licence.

Further References:

The Supplanter

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