Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Sick and Teaching No Mixy.

November 10, 2011

The last thing I feel like doing right now is prep. Fortunately I’m pretty much set for the next two days. Even so, I have to do some major prep on the weekend for some of my younger students’ classes. There are still five weeks left in the semester and I am finished with the textbooks for two of them. I’m nearing the end in some of my others so am going to have figure out some things for them to do too.

This whole learning on the fly thing is not the easiest of tasks. I’ve been tiredish all week, yet when sleep o’clock comes around, my brain is like ‘oh hey, what’s up? We should hang out,’ and so forth.

The fact that soju has become almost a nightly part of my sleeping ritual is a bit worrisome, especially given that I drank, well, a lot of it last night. Slept like a rock though—until someone was kind enough to let their car alarm go off for a solid twenty minutes.

Today has had its ups and downs, as every day teaching seems to.

I think I’m finally getting the hang(ish) of one of my speaking classes. The kids are motivated, kinda sorta (by candy), they do their work, they answer questions (with coaxing), and I’m told I’m actually teaching it properly (which is yay), and the one pair of girls who pretty much just like to laugh and ignore me or give me ‘teacher is a total goof’ stares, I think I might have earned some respect by learning Korean. I caught the one drawing on her desk, and said ‘hajiman’ (I think I spelled that right), which means ‘don’t do that’, and I got a couple of amazed smiles before they promptly set about erasing their artwork.
Also, I have been learning to read the letters, and I caught one of the same girls writing something on her hand, so I started sounding out the words while peering over her shoulder. I got a very surprised look, followed by the kind of laughter that follows a ‘whoa, I was totally not expecting THAT to happen!’ moment. So that class has improved. Huzzah.

But then there is the reading class. These four boys—I yell at them every week, and I hate that they always make me mad enough to do it. I separated them today and the one was demanding to know why, and I was thisclose to saying ‘because you’re an annoying little shit who is pissing me off. THAT’s why.’ But I settled for ‘because teacher is mean and evil. Now MOVE.’
One of them was swearing at me in Korean (if the tone of voice and glare were anything to go by) and I yelled ‘You’re in an English class, so SPEAK ENGLISH!’
They’re supposed to only speak English at the school anyway, but no one enforces that rule. At least it worked though because he and the others finally shut up and let me teach.
There are two girls in the class who are absolute sweethearts. If I could just teach the two of them and duct-tape the others’ mouths, that’d be swell. …I wonder if I can get away with threatening them with that… So tempting.

I try to strategize in advance, tell myself to stay calm, but no dice, alas. It all evaporates when I enter that classroom with those kids.

My last two classes (I only teach four on Wednesday instead of five) were excellent. My one writing class is motivated by candy, and we had a lot of fun today I think. My night class is just two girls who are good friends and we have fun too, which I like. I had to explain ‘keeping in touch’ to them, and using only other words with the same meaning doesn’t always work. I had to outline the concept using myself as an example. I told them that I am in Korea, but allll my friends and family are back in Canada, so we send emails, write letters, use messenger or skype to talk and then I don’t feel so far away. You can tell when students actually get it, because they often just nod sleepily when you ask if they understand, and more likely mean ‘I don’t want to admit I am lost, but I would like to move ahead please.’ But when they get it, their whole demeanour completely changes. They just light up with excitement. I love those moments.

Tomorrow should be peachy. It’s my six class day, but the younger kids are easier, the older kids are livelier (which is sometimes a curse), and my writing class topic is actually fun, so that should be less torturous I hope.

Have I mentioned the ‘bookshelf’ I’ve been building? After posting some photos of my place to facebook, I was told that the walls look bare, and I tried to remember what covered my walls at home. Nothing. Except wall to wall bookshelves. So I taped up a bunch of paper I pulled out of my sketchbook and have been adding and colouring in titles since Saturday.

It’s possible I am the biggest nerd in the world ever.

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