Teaching Gophers

Every so often I am victim to gopher screams. The gophers, of course, are my students.

I usually open a class with my 3-year-old non-English speakers by saying very slowly and clearly, "Hello class." They reply, very loudly and rushed, "HELLO MARKUH TEACHAHH!" I will then ask a series of simple questions to get them into English mode.

This generally goes over smoothly. But sometimes, every fourth day or so, one student will stop listening, lift his head like a gopher and start screaming. These are high frequency screams too. Not scared or sad shrieks like a baby. It's more like an animal call.

Because within one second, another will raise his head, like a gopher, and scream. Then two more join in. Then three more. In a matter of five seconds, 10 different students will be howling in a directionless commotion that can only be compared to a 'Dumb and Dumber' scene of, "do you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?" But with Korean children and in a classroom.

Now, if I try to get louder and say be quiet, they get louder and more join in. So the only way to stop the phenomenon is to gently put my hand over the face of the initial screamer to calm him or her. This shuts down the beacon signal and the others come out of the daze within seconds.

The whole scene lasts about 15-seconds total. It's intriguing to watch unfold , really.

But to be honest, if I wasn't getting paid to teach, I would probably partake. They look so satisfied after a good group scream.


  1. Ahhh - finally, a mother's revenge for the many years of a house full of screaming kids!

  2. putting your hand in front of the kid's face isn't exactly the correct description. perhaps we should record what you do...it makes the story that much better :)

  3. Please record them! I am dying to see it hahahahaha