Watch Out For The Hedgehog – Chapter Three: On World Geography

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A serialistion of the popular Quote Friday book: Watch Out For The Hedgehog, four years of hilarious kids’ quotes from the ESL elementary school classroom in South Korea.

Chapter Three: On World Geography

Me: “What’s your favorite country?”

Kid: “USA.”

Me: “Why?”

Kid: “It’s very big and the economy is strong.”

Me: “I don’t think that’s true.”

Kid: “It is!!”


Me: “Where’s London Zoo?”

Kid 1: “Jeju-do.”

Kid 2: “France.”

Kid 3: “Ou teacher, teacher, Mexico!!”

Me: “England.”

Kid 1: “No.”


Me: “What’s America famous for?”

Kid 1: “Terrorists.”

Me: “No.”

Kid 2: “Big people.”

Me: “No.”

Kid 3: “New York.”

Kid 2: “No.”


The same month of the volcano erupting in Iceland, I started at a new school.

Student: “Teacher, what state in America are you from?”

Me: “I’m not American.”

Kid 1: “I don’t understand.”

Me: “I’m not American.”

Kid 1: “You’re not American?!!”

Me: “I’m from Ireland.”

Kid 2, whispering: “The fire island.”

Me: “That’s Iceland.”


Me: “So, why do tourists come to Korea?”

Kid 1: “I don’t know teacher, why did you come to Korea?”

Me: “No, I’m not a tourist. I came to teach English.”

Kid 1: “Tourists teach English?”

Me: “No, what do tourists do?”

Kid 2: “Speak English.”

Me: “Let’s start over….”


Me: “OK, so what do you know about Finland?”

Kid: “Xylitol is made there.”

Me: “OK.”

Kid: “Yeah, true, it is a white tree…look, I draw a picture.” He draws a tree. “See?”

Me: “OK.”

Kid: “I’m not lying, Teacher, it’s true.”

Me: “I believe you.”


Me: “Name a country in Africa.”

Kid: “South America.”


Me: “Name a state in America.”

Kid: “Loveland.”

Me: “What? Loveland?”

Kid: “Yes, it’s a state.”

Me: “No it’s not!”

Kid: “Yes, teacher, my mother and my father go to Loveland and give birth to my brother.”


Me: “Your mother and your father went to Loveland in America and had your brother?”

Kid: “Yes…it’s a state.”

I literally couldn’t teach for five minutes I was laughing so much!


Me: “When is a strong current good?”

Kid: “Ou teacher, it can give our African friends water!!”

Me: “…?”


After I pronounce “either” ahy-ther not ee-ther while reading:

Kid: “In Ireland, it’s ahy-ther?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Same spelling?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Same meaning?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “But say differently?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Like wa-ter and wa-der?”

Me: “Yes.”

Loooong pause.

Other kid, shaking his head: “Irish is strange!”


Kid: “Teacher, if North Korea attacks, you will go home, yes?”


Kid: “Teacher, your country has no money. They say to IMF give me money please. Beg. Give me money please!”


I show my students a picture of a small, country American school.

Kid: “Oh my God, it’s an ant school!!”


Kids all have their books open on the wrong page.

Kids: “Teacher, loooooooook, IRELAND!!!”

I look. It’s a page all about Ireland.

Kid: “Teacher, it’s you!!”

Me: “Oh, yeah!”

Kid: “Teacher, boy’s name is Kevin?” (reading the story)

Me: “Eh, yeah, his name is Kevin. Why?”

Kid: “My boyfriend’s English name is Kevin.” (She’s 8)

Later: We listen to the CD reading of the story by an Irish boy with a thick Irish accent.

Entire Class: “WHAT?! WHAT?!! I NO UNDERSTAND!!!”

Me: “Yeah, I’ll just read it to you instead!”


Me: “Do you know the United Kingdom?”

Kid 1: “Yes, it’s the same as Lego Kingdom.”

Me: “Not exactly.”

Kid 2: “Oh, a king and queen!! And a wall.”


Me: “OK, where am I from?”

Kid 1: “Canada.”

Me: “No!”

Kid 2: “England!”

Kid 3: “Ireland!”

Me: “Yes!! OK, now where is Ireland?”

Kid 1: “Asia!”

Me: “This is Asia!”

Kid 2: “North America!!!”

Me: “North America??!!”

Kid 3: “Europe!!!” (puts his head on the desk!)


Kid, (who failed his test) counting the pages left in the book: “Eight pages.”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Teacher, where you live?”

Me: “You mean where do I live in Korea or where is my home?”

Kid: “Your home.”

Me: “Ireland.”

Kid: “In eight pages, you go to Ireland?”

Me: “No. In eight pages, we get a new book.”

Kid: “Oh….”


Kid 1: “Teacher, why are you smiling?”

Me: “I’m happy.”

Kid 1: “Why are you happy?”

Me: “Because after this class, I go home.”

Kid 2: “To Canada?”

Me: “I’m not from Canada.”

Kid 2: “Oh Iceland?”

Kid 3: “IRELAND. Teacher live IRELAND!!”

Me: “Yes, I do, but I meant my home here. I’m not going back to Ireland after school.”


In my Grade 3 class, I have a Grade 1 student who’s too advanced to be in any other class. She attended my Grade 2 classes when she was in Kindergarten.

Grade 1 little girl: “Teacher, my new name is Erica.”

Grade 3 little girl: “Like America????”


I’m talking to one of my more advanced kids in class a little quicker than I speak to the other kids because she understands me.

Kid next to her: “Teacher, you speaking Netherlands??!”


Me: “What country do you live in?”

Kid: “Japan!”

Me: “NO!! This is Korea!!”

Kid next to her, pointing at her: “Japan spy!!!”


Me: “Where am I from?”

Kid: “Mexico!”

Entire class stares at her.

Other kid, slowly to the first kid: “Ireland.”


Kid: “I go to Canada. I see the Canada famous food. I eat the Canada famous food. I step on maple leaves.”

Me: “Have you been to Canada?”

Kid: “No.”


Me: “Where’s London?”

Kid: “New York City.”


Me: “Where’s San Francisco?”

Kid, looks at map: “Russia?”


Me: “Name a country.”

Kid puts up his hand, puts down his hand. Puts up his hand. Puts down his hand. Puts up his hand and nods.

Me: “Yes?”

Him: “KOREA!!”


Me: “Do you know Denmark?”

Kid: “Yes, elephants.”

Me: “Elephants?”

Kid: “Yes….Africa?”

Watch Out For The Hedgehog, out now at Smashwords (for 50% off at Smashwords, use coupon code ‘HX78J’), Amazon Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

For more, check out: 

Chapter One: On Love and Relationships

Chapter Two: On Historical Events

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