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Bizarre Stuff Korean Parents Say To English Tutors (ie. Us)

The following is a translation of a post my wife, Mrs. Jiwaku, made to Facebook. It was just too priceless not to translate and share in English. A word about the contents of the list:

These aren’t things that one mom once said: they’re things we’ve heard time and again, and which, when we hear them, always cause us to flinch a little… to the complete bafflement of the people–mostly moms–saying them.

So, no, we’re not cherry-picking the really crazy stuff… all the below is from the solidly average, not-extreme-by-general-standards parents. (Yes, mostly moms, because that’s who mostly manages the day-to-day stuff related to their kids’ educations. And yes, solidly middle-class expat Korean families.)

Screencap from the SBS Television series 바보엄마( (Foolish Mom) from 31 March 2012. Click for source.

And now, Mrs. Jiwaku has the floor…

1. “My kid is totally passive, he can’t express himself [in Korean], can’t think logically, and isn’t interested in anything at all. Could you please fix those problems?”

(Because that’s totally achievable in two hours a week. Maybe your kid doesn’t need English lessons, just psychotherapy!)

2. “I know nagging is really unhelpful and bad for my kid, but I just can’t control myself.”

(If you can’t manage that little bit of self-control, why did you go and have children in the first place?)

3. “My oldest kid doesn’t seem to have a lot of academic potential. Should I just give up on her and invest in my younger kid instead?”

(Does someone need to totally “give up” on life because they’re not good at school?)

4. “No matter what, please ALWAYS give my child a LOT of homework.”

(If they have tons of school homework AND tutor homework, when are they supposed to sleep? And how are they supposed to process what they’re learning?)

5. “Feel get to get angry with my kid, and be as harsh as you like. I don’t mind!

(Is this really your kid? Now, imagine him saying the same thing to the staff when he deposits you in that nursing home someday…)

6. I don’t push my kid as hard as other moms do! It’s only two hours of cram school every weekday after school.

(So, quick calculation… 8 hours of school + 2 hours of cram school + 1 hour of school homework + 1 hour of cram school homework = 12 hours a day of academic work. Could you handle that everyday for even one week straight?)

7. “Please don’t teach my kid in a ‘fun’ way, but in a ‘studious’ way.”

(What the hell is “studious” study? Are you saying learning shouldn’t be enjoyable?)

8. “My kid’s too fat!”

(Try sitting at a desk for twelve hours a day without eating healthy food at mealtimes, and see how you do. Also, how the in hell can you go around saying that about your own kid?)

Other comments:

I’ll include the original Korean text beneath the cut, for those who want to see what Mrs. Jiwaku originally wrote. (She helped with and approved this translation above, however.)

영어레슨을 하면서 부모들에게서 들은 황당한 말…

1. 우리애가 소극적이고 감정표현을 잘 못해요. 논리적으로 생각을 할 줄 모르고 관심있는것도 전혀 없어요. 그런걸 해결해주세요.
– 영어레슨이 아니라 의사에게 상담이 필요한 아이를 나에게 대려와 일주일에 2시간 영어 공부를 하면서 심리치료를 하라는 겁니까…

2. 잔소리를 안 하는게 좋은건 알지만, 그게 제 맘대로 안되요.
– 그 정도도 마음대로 안되시면 애는 왜 가졌어요?

3. 우리 첫째는 공부는 정말 아닌가봐요. 얘는 포기하고 둘째에 투자해야 하나요?
– 공부를 못하면 인생을 포기해야 하는건가요?

4. 무조건 숙제 많이 주세요.
– 학교 숙제도 많은데 학원 숙제 많으면 언제 잠을 자고… 또 배운것에 대해 이해는 언제 합니까?

5. 혼내주세요. 막 심하게 하셔도 되요.
– 자기 자식 아닙니까? 반대로 아이가 당신을 양로원에 맡기면서 그런말 한다고 생각해보세요.

6. 저는 정말 안시키는거에요(월요일부터 금요일까지; 매일 2시간 레슨).
– 학교 8시간 + 레슨 2시간 + 학원숙제 1시간+ 학교숙제 1시간 = 12시간 인데요… 저렇게 일주일이라도 하실수 있겠어요?

7. 노는 공부말고 공부같은 공부를 가르쳐주세요.
– 공부같은 공부가 무엇인가요… 배움이 재미있으면 안된다는 건가요…

8. 우리애는 너무 뚱뚱해요.
– 밥도 제때 못먹고 12시간 책상에 앉아 공부해봐요. 그리고 그런말을 한점 부끄럼없이 자기 자식에게 합니까?

기타: 레슨시간 늘려주세요. 집에서 저렇게 가만히 있는 꼴 못보겠어요.
애들 방학해서 너무 싫어요. 빨리 개학했으면 좋겠어요.

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