Teaching ESL is Difficult!

This Thursday is Chuseok, which is arguably the most important holiday in Korea. Some westerners like to think of it as Korean Thanksgiving, because it is a harvest celebration. Because of the two-day work week, I was totally confused about my schedule yesterday. At the end of the day, when I was preparing to go home, a bunch of kids showed up for an after school class for which I was totally unprepared.

When I don’t have a lesson plan, I generally go to the computer and use a great website called Barry Fun English. They have lots of great ESL games that the kids love.

ESL website, English, fun, teaching

This is the home screen for Barry Fun English. It’s a great ESL program. (Not a paid ad – my honest opinion)


Unfortunately, the computer in my classroom was dead. This isn’t the end of the world., though I decided to take advantage of the fact that the kids are excited about Chuseok.

We began comparing Chuseok and Thanksgiving. I made a column for each on the board and we listed their similarities and differences. Everything was running smoothly until I wrote “Mashed Potatoes and Gravy”.

As soon as I turned around, a hand shot up. “Teacher, what is gray-bee?”

“Well, gravy is…..”

How the hell do you explain gravy? Especially to someone without a point of reference? No computer means no pictures. They don’t all understand words like “thick” and “stock”. I was stumped. I managed to get through it, but it took some time.

So, Southerner Abroad readers, how would you explain gravy to a bunch of Korean who have no clue what you’re talking about? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time.


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4 thoughts on “Teaching ESL is Difficult!

  1. wtl333 says:

    Can’t be done.

  2. dave says:

    They eat dongas, that’s the closest thing to gravy that they have.

    • wtl0715 says:

      That’s a good point – I didn’t think about the fried pork sauce. It would be like similar consistency, but with a different flavor.

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