Meet Me in the Morning, 56th and Wabashaw

I’ve finally learned more about the gigantic story that’s been in the news recently. South Korea’s relationship with the death penalty is a conflicted one. South Korea is the only country to have elected a president that had previously been condemned to death row. In 2000, the same man won the Nobel Peace Prize, and has been equated with Nelson Mandela. Last month Korea’s Constitutional Court (their U.S. Supreme Court) upheld the death penalty, which the previous president had overturned. As a result, the new breaking story in Korea is directly related. The man who I had previously mentioned that raped and killed a 13 year old girl happens to be a repeat sex offender that had been freed and unsupervised because of a loophole. Some groups oppose the move to re-instate the death penalty, but the news coverage gives me the intense feeling that the majority of South Koreans are all for it. I for one can’t blame them. While I do believe every person has the right to life, I think committing such a violent and senseless crime, which robs someone of their own right to life, voids one’s own. More specific information can be found at: http://speakingkorea.com/?p=1163

In lighter news, I too have found my vindictive side. I think anyone that knows me knows that I’m not one for yelling and arguing and confrontation. At first, this made it a little hard to find ways to discipline and punish kids when they crossed the line. Mr. Lee encourages me to hit/spank the kids, but I’m reluctant to raise my hand against a child. Not because there aren’t times when I don’t want to, but because I think it’s a quite thin line to walk. I think it’s terribly easy to think that you haven’t hit/spanked a child quite hard enough to make one’s point made, and in trying to find a more appropriate level a line is crossed. Then again, lots of times yelling just didn’t quite cut it. So what’s a guy to do?

Talking to someone online gave me a fantastic idea. A lot of times when I yell something, especially with the young kids, they just smile and repeat it, pretending they don’t understand when they know damn well that they shouldn’t be doing whatever it is that they’re doing. So whenever I’m in the punishing mood, I don’t get mad or yell. In fact, I get quite calm. I walk over to them, tap them on the shoulder and with a blank face just say “Up.” There are various degrees of cooperation, and it’s not uncommon for me to have to pick up a kid from their chair, but they get up. Then I walk them over to wall, put both my hands on my head and say, “Stand.” It’s almost like a prisoner of war stance. It’s really more about embarrassing them in front of everyone than anything else.

I have only really used it on the youngest kids for running around, yelling, fighting, etc… but I did use it on one fourth grader. The class was being particularly noisy, and I kept having to say “Be quiet!” One of the girls just blurted “be quiet!” back in a really snotty, mocking voice. Something inside me just snapped and I got really mad, but in a quiet, intense way. She was one of the ones that refused to get up, so I had to lift her from the chair. Oh, the look she gave me was just all the evil she could muster. And I liked it. All the kids immediately got very quiet, and one of them asked “You are mad?” My response was “Yes. I am mad. And if you don’t be quiet, you’ll stand, too.” Now most of the disciplining I do just consists of me saying “You do that one more time and you stand” while I lace my fingers over the top of my head. Gratifyingly effective.

I’m supposed to come up with a syllabus for each month now. I’ve never done anything like that, so I’m a little confused, but I’m going to have Mr. Lee e-mail me an example that I can work off of. It will definitely make it easier to have a plan instead of just walking in every day and being like “Well hell, what am I going to do today?” It’s particularly tough for the young ones.

Today two of the classes started a new story called Why The Birds’ Bills are Different.  So after listening to the story once, all we did was talk about different kinds of birds. I just asked them what kind of birds they knew, then spelled it out and had them come and draw it on the board. We recently had some cool motion-sensor stuff installed in the classrooms. It essentially means instead of using markers and having to turn to the computer to press the next button, etc… we can just use the special pointer things to simulate a mouse, draw on the board, etc… and the kids love it. Then once it was drawn I’d spend a couple minutes asking about where the birds lived, what they ate, etc… They don’t even know they’re learning.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I’m meeting Michele on Saturday afternoon to start getting some Korean learning down. Sunday I’ve also got some meeting planned with the group Lawrence’s friend J started for Korean-English learning. Looking to be a productive weekend. Next week all my classes should be on new books. Also, we’re moving to a story every two weeks instead of every month. There aren’t words for how great that makes me feel. They started a week before I got here, and three weeks alone of “What does the deer say? ‘Brr! It is cold!'” is enough to make me want to end my own life. The kids are also visibly bored with it. Half the time I go to open a story there’s a loud chorus of “nnnnoooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

Sunday I’m making a point of going out and taking pictures. There’s still the mysterious hill I mentioned climbing two weeks ago that I need to take pictures of. I think the easiest of my other projects to do would also be the construction going on around Cheonan. You may think you know, but prepare to have your socks blown off.

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