A Day of Dichotomy

Well, this morning, I went into work, knowing I had to make report cards for all of my students. I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but at least it would be a good break from writing tests. I was at work for maybe half an hour or so, when I was told that the Principal and Vice Principal would be sitting in on all our classes and observing us teach. This mainly meant that we had to clean the rooms hardcore. I sweep every day, and mop every week or two, but there were still a ton of scuff marks. The problem is that there aren’t any mop buckets to be found, nor soap, nor hot water in the building. Makes mopping effectively pretty much impossible. So Mr. Lee and Diane went and got some cleaning products, and I spent my entire morning scrubbing floors. I was less than pleased.

It wasn’t like I took a solemn oath never to mop a floor again, but I thought I had escaped it after I stopped working at my cafeteria job in college. Mopping is something that I absolutely hate. I can’t stand mopping. It was made even worse by the fact that Diane and Mr. Lee are both so scared of the principal that they really feel the need to go above and beyond. I was more than perturbed with it. I couldn’t believe they really expected us to completely scrub all the classrooms in the few hours before we had to start teaching. It took the better part of an hour and a half just to clean one room. I did the last one by myself in a much more half ass fashion. When they said we had to scrub the hallways outside the classrooms, I got really angry. I  basically told Diane that I’m a teacher, not a janitor, and that if the school wants someone to scrub the scuff marks off in the hallways, then they should hire a janitor. I was getting mad enough to consider saying this directly to the principal if he confronted me about it.

I started teaching, but the big man was nowhere around. I was in a super bad mood from my morning, and the kids definitely picked up on it right away. I taught the class full of trouble makers, and instantly let them know I was not in any mood to be flexed on. The first offender had to do squats.  Not just squatting against the wall, but actually squatting and standing. At first the whole “up, down, up down” routine was funny to him, but after a minute or two, as he got more and more tired, he took it a bit more seriously. Later in the day, I started making a student do it, but it turned into a game of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” much to the delight of the rest of the class. Actually, the whole class was actually pretty well behaved. Still, I don’t like leaving them to their own devices, so I waited for Amy to come and relieve me. I’m honestly not sure if she was ever at work today. She never came, which screwed me over. Expecting to only be teaching each class for 25 minutes, I only prepared as such. So I kind of bullshited another 20 minutes, and since the kids had behaved uncharacteristically well, when they asked to watch a cartoon in the last five minutes of class, I obliged them. Thirty seconds into the cartoon was the exact moment the principal walked in, and I was just inwardly conscious of how fucked I was. I decided I may as well stick to my guns and I would just point out pieces of the video (A classic Wile E. Coyote cartoon) and tell them the English word. Invisible, footprint, cliff, gun, water, fish, etc… so it would seem even minimally educational. Still, I’m sure I’ll hear all about it on Monday.

The rest of the day, I wasn’t really in fear of the principal walking in. I had my lesson plan and I was prepared. I was just conscious of the possibility that he’d come in. Of course, the rest of the day he never showed up again. Most of the day was just reading the story and me checking to see if the kids knew the vocabulary. We’ve been studying it long enough now that I’ve begun asking them the meaning of the words in English. It seems silly, but I think it’s pretty important for a Korean kid to be able to explain an English word in English.  I saw eight of my nine classes, and I didn’t have a serious problem all day. I pulled the whole call and response trick (“‘This museum is really interesting, Dad.'” “I’m not your dad, and this is a school, not a museum!”), which most of the kids seem to enjoy. At least the third and fourth graders. I had a sixth grader tell me: “Teacher, you are no funny.” Luckily, the next line in the story was “Oh, ha ha!” so I responded: “Sue laughed. See? I’m funny.”

I’ve been introducting random bits of American culture to the kids. For instance, recently when I take roll call, I say “here” with a Cartman accent, so it kind of comes out as “hyaw”. Some of the kids don’t like it when I do it, because it sounds like the Korean word for “tongue”. Other kids think it’s funny. Others have started saying it themselves, which makes me giggle like an asshole hearing a Korean kid say “here” like Cartman. Today, I also started demonstrating what a noogie is on some kids. Hehehe. I’ve also been screwing with the kids. Especially my last class. They’re 4th-6th grade. When they walk in, I’ll saying something along the lines of “Hey kid” and they always get worked up and start arguing with me. “I’m not a kid! I’m eleven!” Hehe. I’m 22 and I still feel like a kid. Also, I started playing the name game with them, which they really don’t enjoy. At least, they don’t like it when it’s directed at them, but it’s amusing as hell when it’s other people. My last class turned into Dianer, Liser, Deener, Jelly Belly Kelly, Danny Wanny, Nick-y, Scary Harry, and Butch-y Wutch-y. I also alternatively call them by their first initial and dawg. “Yo, D-dawg, read.”

I don’t know if I’m the worst teacher ever or the best.

No Konglish today because I’m at a PC Bang, so I don’t have the file handy. Double dose next time. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some Boryeong Mud Festival pics up Sunday night. I take off at 8:40 AM tomorrow morning, and I’ll be getting back at roughly 5:30 PM Sunday.


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