This week, I’ve been reading “The Night Before Christmas” with some of my students and singing “Jingle Bells” with the other ones (the ones who can’t read as well). Reactions to “The Night Before Christmas” have been mixed — my adult students seem interested because I have told them how popular the story is in America, my teenage students (for the most part) don’t seem to find the story all that interesting (aside from the “bowl full of jelly” simile, which they find strangely amusing). I’ve come to realize that I really don’t know what the “down of a thistle” is, and that it’s very hard to explain “I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.” As for “Jingle Bells” — so far I’ve only taught the first verse (“Dashing through the snow…”), so it’s gone over smashingly. I’m afraid to attempt the obscure second verse, mostly for fear I will have to explain the non-word “upsot.”

Today I learned that Korean students (elementary to high school) stay in the same room all day, and between classes their teachers switch rooms and come to them. Does this seemingly small educational difference somehow exemplify a larger, more essential, difference between the East and the West? I feel like it may, although I have thus far been unable to ascertain exactly what it might be.

4 comments to upsot

  • Karla

    One of my kindergartens is singing “Jingle Bells” for their winter concert (that being the only Christmas song they’re doing). But they’re singing it in Japanese, except for the part that goes “Jinguru Beru, Jinguru Beru,” which I always find hard to listen to without wincing for some reason.

    That’s interesting about the teachers switching rooms. There’s lots of little details like that I’m always trying to analyze too, I wish my memories of an American kindergarten were fresher for the sake of comparison.

    Upsot? Like, “Sure you get a bunch of deer stomping on your shingles, and a fat man tracking soot all over the living room carpet and eating your cookies, but the upsot is, you get presents”?

  • dan

    My teachers switched rooms…and for what it’s worth, I went to a really good school. Hmm. Coincidence?

    And your story about reading the story was funny. How did they handle the hallucinations about dancing sugar plums? 🙂

  • bo

    An explanation for “upsot”….I searched long and hard………

  • Wanda

    its a nautical term meaning to capsize. hope it helps.

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