The perks of being a teacher is trying to find interesting lessons for your uninterested students. One morning my co-teacher says to me, can you think of something to do for our first class? I had a mini panic attack and went flicking away through facebook snatching photos of family members and making a mini power point where I explained relationships and how my family looks like.
This proved to be an interesting topic. Almost all of my kids were engaged even though there were only pictures and it was just me talking. I started with the stereotypical family image of a father, mother, daughter and son. So my first question was, “Do you all have a mother and father?” The second question was, “Do they live with you?”
So I brought a picture up of who lives in my household. My mom, me, and my two younger sisters. (My mom’s boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend also live with us) I went into that later though.
So I went through the chronological order of my family though my mom’s first marriage dictated by mr. ? ,my real father. The kids got a kick out of this. Shocked there was no photo, ( I have one back home somewhere packed away) but for all intents and purposes this worked better. Fast forward to marriage number 2 with the birth of my youngest sister, and then adoption of me and my younger sister. With the mention that both of our last names changed due to adoption. (This is not as common in blended families)
Went over the family again and mentioned that my dad remarried and my mother currently has a boyfriend. Having a boyfriend later in life is worth a chuckle to them. I told them my grandmother has a boyfriend as well, but he is just her ‘friend.’ We all know better. The other kicker was saying my sister was pregnant and not married. This was a shocking revelation as well. However, it proved to be a talking point.
My students exclaimed in Korean that it was just like a drama! Meaning that my family situation was like what happens on their TV shows and is totally outside of the norm. However, I did tell them that about half of all marriages in the USA end in divorce. Not only that but many people remarry and then have children together or raise their children together. I talked to them about the use of terms like step brother/sister and half brother/sister. To my students this was a fascinating topic because their families are not like mine. Whereas to me my family is normal and there are oddities, but that is what my family is like. I explained about my two brother’s I don’t know . One I met through facebook, and the other I met in person and never said a word to. To them that type of possibility isn’t really an option. I also mentioned about extended relatives that have remarried or divorced and gone over their situation as well. I mentioned one of my older aunts in on a dating website and looking for someone to spend time with. Their older aunts and uncles or grandparents do not date.
I had a lot of fun on this topic and in retrospect I wish I could have talked more and given more examples to my kids about my family and what it is like. But at the end of the day I realized here in South Korea my family is more like the ones that appear in TV shows than the ones of reality.