Hand Nanta: Best of times, worst of times

The girls play a game called Hand Nanta. Nanta, in Korean, means something like “crazy beat.” Can you imagine what Hand Nanta is like?

The girls play this game in the beginning of class. It’s a simple pattern with many variations. As a foreigner, it intrigues me. As a drummer, it intrigues me. Even as a teacher, it intrigues me.

So I learned a few of the patterns. Now, it’s the best of times and the worst of times.

  • Best of times because we have a lot of fun. I even taught them one of the patterns I learned in America with a cup. We trade off, Korean and American.
  • Worst of times because now at the beginning of class, it’s seriously difficult for them to learn any English with me. We’re too busy practicing Hand Nanta.

Maybe my teaching philosophy is all out of whack. Something tells me, though, that spending the time to get to know the students and get to know their culture will go further than the five or ten minutes I’d spend picking apart their homework in the beginning of class.

Or maybe I’m just selfish because these are the small moments that make Korea so amazing for me. Maybe I just know I’ll only last, here or anywhere, if I can turn everything into a crazy beat.

Boom, bah-boom… boom-bah. Boom-boom, bah-boom… boom-bah!

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