They just want to make a mouse.

Billy has spent the last six weeks constructing a small mouse out of bits of felt, then he gets ‘sheets’, which ask mysterious conceptual questions. I looked at the latest sheet: “What do you want to achieve by making the mouse?”
Billy and I looked at each other desperately. How global do they expect you to go with a question like that, I mean in a philosophical sense? I handed Billy a pencil. He sat down at the kitchen table and wrote, then handed me the sheet.
To make a mouse.

 

This is a passage from the latest Bridget Jones book. Yes, I’ve gone Bridget for quotes and literature references for my posts and at the moment they make more sense to me than Dostoevsky. This short nighttime post is a reminder against overthinking.

 

I’ve previously mentioned it in my post here that hearing students introduce themselves with English names in Korea was puzzling to me. One university student gave me a neat comprehensible explanation (and correct me if I’m wrong as I’m recalling that from a conversation that happened more than 2 months ago). Korean kids are made to pick an English-sounding name by their teachers either at their regular English classes at school, or at a language school they are most likely all attending in their after-school time. The latter variant was the case with the student who gave me this explanation. She said she had actually searched the Internet for the name. So, when Korean kids (and apparently university students as well) talk to non-Koreans, they use their English names ‘because they are easier to pronounce and remember’. That whole fact was bothering me for quite a while in Korea. Yes, it’s true that Korean names are not so easy to pronounce but neither would be Russian names to non-Russians. I’m not developing this into a list of nationalities but you see where that is going.

 

And you know, I think we actually have a similar thing going on with names in Russia, too. So many of my students, during our first lesson together, introduced themselves under a pretence English name, which would, however, phonetically resemble their own name. I’ve got a pretence name myself! ‘Ann’ is a variation of Anna that I adopted for signing my English lesson papers at some point at school because it sounded “more English” than Anna (or Anya) to me. No one told me at that point that my name is actually international and that change made no difference. It might still be fair to mention that I was not made or forced to adopt a new name. (I will also use this chance to publicly assure you I have no issue with being called either, and I’m sorry if that has been confusing.)

 

Well, anyway, getting back to Bridget Jones and Dostoevsky. In one of conversations with some bloggers you might know it was legitimately speculated that we teachers make a whole lot of fuss about things – or nothings. Basically, we overthink. Kids love trying on another hat and playing the game, and then for some that John, Andrew, or Sophia could stick, so what’s the harm? While some of their *thoughtful?* non-Korean communication partners will ponder how this double name scenario ‘ruins the integrity of their personality and identity’ (or something), the boys and girls may just still want to make a mouse.

 

*****
In addition to all said above, I was very glad to see ‘sheets’ in those inverted commas. I’ve seen ‘sheets’, I’ve downloaded ‘sheets’, I’ve made my own ‘sheets’. Sometimes my sheets included questions that students chose to skip, for no mind reeling on their part yielded to any answer that would match the depth, intensity and demand of an open-end question ‘that would help the teacher’.

 

 

The middle of the night is a great time to do proper overthinking or write a blog post. I’ve done both and I will do so again. Thanks for reading.

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6 thoughts on “They just want to make a mouse.

  1. Hana Tichá says:

    Hi Anne 🙂 If only you knew how much I like your posts. When I finish reading, I always look away for a while and think: She’s getting better and better. How does she do? She can express her thoughts so clearly that I understand every thought between the lines (or at least I think so).

    Anyway, I agree with you that we teachers tend to overthink – some more than others – and that it’s sometimes just about ‘making the mouse’. But sometimes it’s more than that and behind ‘just making the mouse’ there may be a lot more. I believe that your name was given to you by your parents for some reason – be it conscious or subconscious – and every letter of that name has some sort of energy. If you change a single letter, you do it for a particular reason too. If you change the whole name completely … well ….

    I guess I’m overthinking again. Merry Christmas and keep overthinking and putting your thoughts down in ink. 🙂

    • annloseva says:

      Hello Hana!

      If only you knew how flattering it is to know my posts make you look away and think. Personally, I think I’ve gotten worse or that I’m currently not up to the mark I’ve set for myself for my own writing. Needless to say such comments as yours give me a different perspective, for a little while. Thank you for this =)

      I’m quite indifferent to minor changes to my name, especially since it is indeed wildly international and thus rather boring =)

      Thank you for the comment! I wish us both fruitful and interesting overthinking in 2015! =)

  2. kevchanwow says:

    Hi Anna,

    As a perennial over-thinker (and lover of ‘sheets’), I very much dig this post. In fact, I think I will do the over-thinking post on my blog starting sometime in the next 10 minutes or so. You know, the one about playing with a toy during class.

    Thanks for the inspiration,

    Kevin

    • annloseva says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I believe your overthinking for that post has gone a long way)) I am looking forward to reading it in 2014, 2015 or any other subsequent year.

      Happy and flattered to serve as an inspiration to you!

      Happy holidays.

  3. Speaking overthinking: http://gangwondispatches.blogspot.kr/2014/12/frank-mccourts-teacher-man-reflections.html

    I just posted that one and then I remembered that’s been a while since I read your blog.

    This is a cool post because it broaches that perennial subject of foreign nicknames.

    Just this week, I met a couple of Koreans who introduced themselves with their English names. We exchanged phone numbers and swapped Kakao talk IDs. And then they messaged me, and the messages show up with their Korean names, which, of course, I don’t know!

    Oh well. Like you said, Korean names aren’t any more or less difficult than Russian or Greek names.

    *To my mind, Anya is a fine name.

    • annloseva says:

      Hi Chewie,

      Great to hear from you, and also get a link to your new blog post! Thanks.

      Yours is a funny story about Koreans and their names. I even think it is more confusing than funny, but kind of both) It was the first time in Korea that I encountered such attitude to names. I still think it must be telling something and maybe there are research papers on this topic, somewhere on the Internet (or on some shelves)..?

      I agree that Anya is a good enough name. I like it =)
      Thank you!!

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