Monday, July 26, 2010

“Marketing” The Korean Way!


Ok so Ryan and I have had to do some “marketing” at the near by schools and we thought you might be interested in hearing how they do things like that over here. The first time we got to experience this was two weeks ago on Thursday at the elementary school down the street.  So we got to our school at about 11:50 to get ready to head down to the elementary school to arrive when classes let out at 12:30.  The Korean co teachers put together packets to give to the kids about the school and bought some Hello Kitty suckers to help gain the kids interests.  So sounds simple right? Yea we thought so too, we thought that yet again our boss just wanted us there to show that she had “white” teachers at her school, as far as we can tell she is the only school around with “real” English teachers and we seem to be the only two Americans in our area. 

Anyways it was nothing like I thought it was going to be, some how I pictured it being like we just said hi to kids as they went by and gave them a sucker and a packet.  WOW were we wrong!  We were each handed a bag of Hello Kitty suckers (yes I keep saying that because that just made them even more popular with the kids) and told to hand them out. Yet again simple enough right? Wrong, our job was to distract the kids with the suckers as the Korean teachers unzipped their back packs and slipped in the information.  All of the sudden I saw Ryan and I behind bars because at home this is highly illegal, however here it seemed like just your everyday typical thing.  Anyways only kids who would stop and let the teachers put things in their backpack were allowed to get a sucker.  Sadly a lot of the kids who’s parents cannot afford after school English schools or math schools or any after school program were coming over and intercepting their kids before the Korean teachers could get to them, so they all would look at us with big sad little puppy eyes.  Then we had some of the kids that already go to our school come up and want suckers and not understand why Megan Teacher and Ryan Teacher wouldn’t give them one.  It was really heart breaking to have to tell them no, we even tried to slip them some when we thought nobody was looking but got caught and yelled at by our boss.  One little boy even offered me a tomato from the tomato plant he had grown at school, so I took it, smiled at him and gave him a sucker as I told him “shhhh” he smiled and ran off.  Later I found out he ran off to Ryan to give him a tomato and get a sucker.  Then I saw Jake a cute little 8 year old boy in one of my class fall and drop all of his bags and books (kids here have a ton of books, papers, and notebooks) so I went over to help him pick everything up and help try to fit a few more books and things into his bag so it would be easier to carry.  Well opps I broke the rules and dropped a sucker into his bag, just trying to make his day a little better.   A few minutes later another one of my students Sam, a 13 year old boy who only talks and writes about soccer,  came up and asked for a sucker, Sam is a good student and always tries hard in my class, he is always in a so-so mood because he is tired (as most students are due to the fact that most go to school or are going from school to some kind of program from about 8 in the morning till 10 or later every night) but stands out as an egger student.  So seeing as how I have a soft spot for kids I told Sam he could have one, asked him to hold my tomato as I opened a new bag, well once I opened my bag and went to ask Sam what color he wanted (even though they all taste the same) I noticed his mouth was full and my tomato was gone.  I was not to happy but gave Sam a sucker and told him to move on, little did I know he moved on to Ryan and did the same thing.  I wont lie Korean kids maybe just a tad bit strange. Anyways after a nice 30 minutes of lots of fun in the hot sun our boss informed us that we were out of packets and it was time to pack up.  Well that was easier said than done, Ryan was in a crowd of about 50 kids screaming and jumping trying to grab the back of candy out of his hands, and I stood there wishing I had a camera to capture the madness.  Sadly our boss is not phased by the fact that the angry mob of crazy Korean ninja kids (ok maybe not so much ninja’s) still have Ryan surrounded as continues to yell about packing up and getting back to school in broken English we really can’t make out.  So once Ryan breaks through the mob we are told to take down the table and umbrella she made us bring (one reason we hoped this would be a nice simple event) and carry them back to the bus where we were crammed in with all the kids as they got ready to head to school, and she took the other teachers back in her car. All I have to say was that it was a crazy event I  hoped we wouldn’t have to take part in again.

A few days later on Friday we were informed however last minute that we were going to the middle school. Wait that was not how we were informed, to be honest our boss came up to me as I was getting ready to walk into my next class and just said “Megan, Megan middle school” umm ok what? However that was all she said as she turned and walked away, like what she had just said made the most sense in the world.  I found one of the Korean teachers and had her go with me to our boss to get a little bit more information.  Well sadly that didn’t help to much; however Ryan and I did find out that we needed to grab 3 tables out of the storage room and head downstairs to walk over to the middle school across the street to meet our boss and some of the women that run the math school/program on the 3rd floor of the building.  This time we were told to get the kids to fill out a piece of paper giving us their name, cell phone, home phone and other information I didn’t quite catch because it was all in Korean.  Now once they gave us this information they got a little note book (they go crazy for notebooks, pens, ect over here) and then a packet of information on the school.  Yet again some how we felt this was wrong; however I think many of the kids made up the information they gave us.  Really I see that kind of as a “ha-ha that’s what you get”.   Well lucky for us it started to rain so we got to head in a few minutes early and just in time for our next class to start.  On the walk back in the rain (yet again she drove her self and the teachers from the math school back in her car) Ryan, I and Han’s (an older Koran teacher) got to see all the packets and flyers blowing up and down the street, leaving us to feel like we had accomplished something!  Sadly we got to do a repeat of “marketing” again last Monday. 

This just leaves me to wonder why they didn’t teach me this type of marketing in college. 

1 comment:

Chastity said...

Well I'm not surprised all the kids LOVE Hello Kitty there! I used to like it when I was in like Third Grade. This sounds like a good learning experience. Glad you didn't go to jail! Have you seen that show locked up abrod yeah. You don't wanna get arrested! I love how the little boy tried to bartar with you and exchange a tomato for a sucker. That was too cute! Did you eat the tomato?
I can't believe that go to school that late! Wow!! I didn't stay at school that late when I participated in extra curricular activites. Dang! Poor Kids. I guess that's a custom for Korea families that they go to school all day. I guess it cuts down on child care. I can see why they love paper and notebooks now. They are little nerds who go to school FOREVER! What do they do on the weekends? I look forward to hearing more! I think its funny..yeah USC Upstate Marketing didn't prepare anyone for Hyper Korean children obcessed with paper and Hello Kitty - not to mention the international languae barrier. I can't wait to here more. Keep the stories coming.