Watch Out For The Hedgehog: Chapter Five – On Grammar

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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 Five: On Grammar

While reviewing the present continuous, I point to a girl sitting at her desk.

Me: “What is she doing?”

Kid 1: “She is living.”

Kid 2: “Amy, look at teacher.”

Amy looks at me.

Kid 2: “She is looking at you!”


While teaching the present continuous, we were playing charades. As an example I acted out ‘dancing’:

Me: “What am I doing?”

Kid: “You are annoying.”


Me: “What’s the difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’?”

Kid: “One has an ‘s’…so spelling.”


Me: “What do you use a blender for?”

Kid 1: “Milkshake.”

Kid 2: “Strawberries.”

Kid 3: “Oh teacher, hamster!!!”

Me: “What?”

Kid 3: “Seriously, my neighbor. Hamster. Maaaaany blood teacher.”


Me: “OK, give me an example sentence of what scares you.”

Little Boy: “Women scare me.”


While teaching: ‘If you combine….you will get….’:

Kid: “If you combine blood and cheese, you will get strange food.”


While teaching ‘…is important for…’:

Kid’s example: “A badge is important for saving your life.”

Me: “Um….what?”

Kid: “If you are in a gun fight and you have a star badge, it can save your life.”

Followed by a demonstration of how if a bullet hits a badge, it can bounce off and not hurt you.

Long pause.

Me: “OK, I’ll allow it…but ONLY if you’re in a gun fight.”


While teaching the word ‘bother’:

Me: “Give me an example sentence using bother.”

Kid: “Teacher, you bother me by teaching me English.”



Kid: “What does ‘my tiny nipples went to France’ mean?”

While teaching: ‘If I could do anything tomorrow, I would _________ ‘:

My example sentence: “If I could do anything tomorrow, I would fly to the moon.”

Long pause.

Kid puts his hand up.

Kid: “But teacher, there’s swine flu.”


During a fill in the blanks question in the book:

Me: “I _____________ like my mother….What’s the answer? I….”


Me: “Um….no…Try again…”

Kid: “No…wait…look….I look like my mother!”

Keep in mind; we’d been studying ‘look like’ for about a week!


While teaching ‘be good at..’:

Me: “What are you good at?”

Naughtiest (but smartest) kid in my class: “I’m good at making teacher angry.”

Girl: “I’m good at sleeping.”

Third Kid: “I’m good at doing this.” (he puts his head on the desk and looks bored…)


While teaching ‘escape plan’ in relation to fire safety:

Me: “What’s the escape plan for here?”

Kid 1:”Go out door, turn right, go down stairs, turn left, go outside.”

Me: “Good. And what’s the escape plan for your apartment?”

Kid 2: “I live on floor 21. I will just die.”


Me: “What can you do?”

Kid 1: “I can make CO2!”

Kid 2: “I can fix a TV. I can hit it!”


Me: “Give me a sentence with ‘trip’ in it.”

Kid 1: “Fell down, trip, same.”

Me: “No, a sentence.”

Kid 2: “Fell down is the same as trip.”


Kid 2: “It’s a sentence!”


While learning ‘I used to’ with my grade fours:

Boy 1: “I used to hate math. Now, I like math.”

Me: “Really?”

Boy 2 sitting in front of him turns around, raises his eyebrows and stares at him skeptically…then shakes his head slowly.

Boy 1: “Yes, really.”

Me: “Ok, next?”

Boy 2: “I used to don’t like computer games. Now, I like computer games.”

Boy 1 jumps from his seat, pointing at Boy 2.

Boy 1: “LYING!!!! Him all the time like computer games. Lying, Teacher!”


I show my students a picture of earmuffs.

Me: “What is it?”

Kid 1: “Headphones…no…no wait a minute.”

Kid 2: “I don’t know.”

I write ‘earmuffs’ on the board.

Kid 3: “Earmuffins?”

Me: “Earmuffs.”

ALL: “Earmuffs.”

Kid 2: “Earsmurfs!!”

Me: “No no, earMUFFS.”

Kid 1: “Earsmurfs!!”

Me: “No, no…”

Kid 2: “I don’t like Smurfs. They’re blue and skin like a snail. And no clothes, Teacher. No clothes. Only hat and pants. Where do they poop???!! I don’t like them.”

Me: “Noooo, but they’re cute.”

Kid 2: “They are not cute. They are horrible. No clothes. I like Gargamel. He usually wears clothes.”

Kid 3: “I like his cat.”

Me: “Me too!”

Kid 2: “Teacher, it is disgusting. They have no clothes.”

Kid 1: “I like Pororo.”

Me: “He’s a penguin. He has no clothes.”

Kid 2: “But that’s OK. He’s cute. And when he take off his glasses and then, he’s more cute.”

Kid 3: “Earsmurfs!!”

Me: “EarMUFFS!!”

Kid 3: “Teacher, if you move ‘s’, it’s earsmuffs.”

Me: “What about the ‘r’?”

Kid 3: “No ‘r’.”

Me: “They’re SmuRfs not SMUFFS.”

Kid 3: “No, Smuffs.”

Me: “SMURFS!!”

Kid 3: “You’re wrong!”

Me: “I AM NOT! Everybody, EARMUFFS.”



While teaching, “I am……because I…….”:

Kid: “I am amazing because I learned earsmurfs!”

Me: “What the….NO!!!”


Me: “Who can make a sentence with ‘how much’ in it?”

Little boy (pointing at little girl next to him): “How much is it?”


Kid: “I no understand.”

I look at the book.

Me: “OK, so do you go walking?”

Kid: “Yes.”

Me: “Does your friend go walking?”

Kid YELLS across entire classroom: “LUCAS DO YOU GO WALKING???!!”

Lucas: “Yes.”

Kid (to me): “Yes.”


While studying ‘like’:

Me: “What does your mommy like?” (options on the page include a variation of fruits and vegetables)

Kid 1: “My mom likes money.”

Kid 2: “My mom doesn’t like dad.”


During a tick-the-boxes worksheet:

CD: ‘It’s warm in spring’

Choices a) A snowy picture or b) A spring picture.

Me: “What’s the answer?”

Kid 1: “B.”

Me: “And what’s the sentence?”


Kid 2: “IT’S B.”

I look at him.

Kid 2: “It’s a sentence!”


Two little boys are practicing sentences together.

Kid 1: “He goes go camping.”

Kid 2: “NO!”

Kid 1: “He goes go camping.”

Kid 2: “NOOOO!”

Kid 1: “It says!!! He goes go camping.”


Kid 1: “He goes…camping?”

Kid 2 exhales.


Me, while doing a unit on ‘should get’: “What should I get my brother for his birthday?”

Kid: “A girlfriend.”


While doing finish the sentence: ‘If I could do anything, I would…’

Kid: “Stay home.”


While teaching, ‘I wish I could…’:

Kid 1: “I wish I could fly a helicopter.”

Kid 2: “You no fly a helicopter! It’s dangerous!! You…ahhhhhhhh…”

Kid 3, lying on his desk: “I wish I could go home!!”


While telling me three things their partner would do:

Kid: “If she could do anything, she would hit Helen.”

Helen, the kid sitting in front of him turns around and stares at him.

Kid: “Really.”

Me: “What ELSE does your partner want to do?”

Kid: “If she could do anything, she would hit me.”

His partner nods.

Me: “And the third thing?”

Kid: “Only those two.”


Me: “What’s ‘I’ll never forget’ mean?”

Kid: “My head will never erase.”


While explaining ‘move away.’

Me: “Like if you moved from Seoul to Busan.”

Kid: “It’s 10 kilometers.”

Me: “No…No, it’s not.”

Kid: “Yes!”

Me: “No. It’s 87 kilometers to Cheonan.”

Kid: “No…really?”

Me: “Yeah, I lived there. I know how far it is.”

Kid: “10 kilometers to Busan.”

Me: “No.”

Kid: “No, by airplane.”

Me: “That…no, it’s still the same distance. Even by airplane.”


While teaching ‘I’m not __________ yet’:

Kid: “I’m not psycho yet.”


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

Chapter Three: On World Geography

Chapter Four: On Vocabulary 

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