So I was having this conversation with my grade 5 class. We were learning the song ‘Sunny’ by Boney M for no particular reason at all other than the fact that there are three girls in the class (and only three girls in the class) and they were singing ‘SUNNY….do do do do do do do do do do dooooooooooo….SUNNY…..’ and I figured with 10 minutes left of class, I’d teach them the words because a) it would be less annoying for me if they were vaguely making an attempt at singing the correct words and b) I really couldn’t think of anything else to do.
We’re going through the Googled lyrics on screen when one of the girls points out the word ‘grace’, to which Grace (the student) says ‘Yes, I know. My name means ………. (<— a word in Korean)’.
Amy: ‘Ohhhhhhh….what does my name mean?’
And cue me on the computer Googling what names mean.
Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, Korean kids who take English class are usually given (if they’re very young) or choose (if they’re older) their own English name. My kids were named before I started teaching them and in previous years, allowing kids to pick their own names has led to an influx of strangely named kids: Pencil, Apple (x2), Lightning, Cyclone, Yoda Anderson (to be addressed by his full name only), Rainbow, Carrot, Ninja, etc. At times my attendance sheet has looked like my weekly grocery list. Luckily these three kids are called Amy, Grace and Rebecca.
Now, both Amy and Grace were both happy with their names meanings, Rebecca not so much. Her name means ‘Servant of God’ to which she responded, ‘But I don’t like God!’.
My name is Jenny, which apparently means ‘White Wave’ although maybe I should start checking a different website. The term ‘White Wave’ conjures up images of tranquil waves crashing along the shoreline while I sit watching the sunset and sipping a cocktail…although to others it probably means surfing the crests and an adrenalin rush. Maybe my name leans closer to the latter. Case in point: In my two separate grade one classes 1A and 1B, I have a Jenny in each. Both are the naughtiest kids in class, seem to have an inability to comprehend the words ‘be quiet’ and are constantly excited about nothingness…or complaining about having to do writing. Ok, well maybe that sounds like me…a little…but ONLY a little.
An example from my first week of teaching at my current school: In my grade four class, kid rocks up, late, no books.
Me: ‘Of course!’
Kid: ‘Jenny 1.’
If the stories my mother tells me are anything to go by, I was not the easiest Jenny to raise. Although it should be an interesting term though, I have two Jennys in that class.
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