Kisses and Ttongchim– Dealing with Kindergartners

With so many young kids, you never know how your day is going to go. You can easily be mopping up tears or breaking up fights. Yesterday I had one little girl from my class start crying during reading group (again– to be honest, I think she’s mostly doing it to get out of class now). Later I was breaking up a fight in the cooking room. One boy poked another boy in the face with a pencil, leaving a line of graphite across his skin.

I feel like the students have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes you’re receiving super affectionate behavior, other times its is resentment or anger that you get. The other week I had two little boys hanging off me, trying to kiss me– one kissed my wrist, another my knee. A boy from the older group upstairs brought his friend over to me to explain that his friend “loves teacher.” The friend in question was blushing and then giggling, the two of them ran away after the confession. So that’s cute.

On the other hand, I was kicked by my class’s troublemaker before Chuseok break. This same kid has been serious trouble trying to push his way past me and leave in the middle of class and apparently today he did something totally unacceptable to one of the other teachers. He did ttongchim to her.

Ttongchim is a really weird prank that is apparently found in some other Asian countries like Japan as well. Basically someone puts their hands together, folds down all but their index fingers, and jams those index fingers into someone else’s butt hole. Yeah, this is a thing. Look it up if you don’t believe me. Even just Google “Korean kids sticking fingers in your butt” and you will get results.

I’m surprised at how calmly she handled the situation. She has taught in Korea for three years, so maybe it doesn’t even faze her any more. I guess that’s something I will never get used to– all the weird butt related children’s games and pranks. I mean this is the Korean version of Leap Frog called maldupaki:

Apparently adults play as well. I’m told games can get very intense and competitive. So I guess if you’re growing up sticking your head between other people’s legs, it’s not a big deal to stick your fingers up their butt? 

Anyway, that kid better not try it with me. He knows that is not acceptable. And it is certainly less than adorable.


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