Positively 4th Street

Well, the weekend is finally here! I’m free. It feels awesome. For the past two weeks, all I could think about was this trip. I think I was beginning to get kind of cross with some kids because I just wanted to get through the week. This week has been pretty weird. We had a new schedule made, which I learned is only for August. The only reason it’s possible to have 9 AM and 11 AM classes is because school is out. Once it starts back up, I imagine we’ll be back to the normal 1-6 PM teaching schedule, and I’ll get to see Orange class again, which will be great.

Still, this schedule has it’s awesome parts. Mondays and Wednesdays, my last class ends at noon. I’m supposed to just work on the normal billet of tests, workbooks, and textbooks, but Mr. Lee said I could do it at home. I doubt I’ll go home though. I’ll probably just sit in a teacher’s office somewhere and work there. It’d be pretty impossible to work from home, so I’ll just stay an extra hour or two, then head home whenever the hell I feel like I’ve done enough work for the day. Also, teaching the Treasures classes is always fun, and one of the classes is only three girls, so it’s super laid back.

Today, all my classes did was finish any work in their book they hadn’t already done. According to the schedule I was given, they’re ending this unit about a week short. I guess they don’t want to send the kids on vacation for a week and then have one more week of the same unit. I understand, but I wish someone had told me this shit. All day I just checked kids books to make sure they’d written the right things and had them finish up the things that hadn’t completed.

There was only one thing of note. To truly appreciate the story, I’ll give two of my students a bit of an introduction. They’re both in Red class, which is all either 2nd or 3rd graders. Not great English, but worlds beyond the first graders in the previous hour. One girl, Angela, a 2nd grader, struggles in class a lot. Probably the largest problem is that she’s got less than zero confidence in herself. I think she’s realized that she’s been labeled as a remedial student by teachers and other students and it affects her self-esteem. She’s a really sweet girl, though, and she really likes me.

Earlier this week I made Angela cry because I punished her for refusing to take part in a class activity. I knew it was just because she was self-conscious about her reading ability, but I couldn’t really let her get away with just refusing something I told her to do. The thing is, if you really, really press her and take the time with her, she can figure out everything just as well as the other children. The unfortunate reality is that I just can’t waste ten minutes every time I want her to read something or answer a question.

Sally, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. She’s a 3rd grader, and I’m fairly confident she should be moved up at least one more level. She’s competitive about points, but otherwise she can be a bit impetuous. She finishes he work quickly, then sits around doodling in her book or something. She can get a bit of an attitude on her, as well. Sally’s a bit hard to read. She doesn’t seem crazy about me. She’s one of the students who on a regular basis will just shake their head at me when I see them and wave.

So, as class, started, I graded Angela and Sally’s books first, then gave them back. Angela had three or four pages to finish. They were things we’d all done in class, but lots of students simply neglect to write down answers even if I spend ten minutes asking an answer for each question. I asked Sally to help Angela finish, since she was the only one who’d completed her work, while I graded the rest of the books.

For the rest of the hour, Sally spent all her time with Angela, using a mix of Korean and English to help her finish her book. I saw her using her book, and I told her not to cheat. It really irks me when I see kids just blatantly copying out of another student’s book. She said okay, and would leave her book face down, look at each answer, and then take as long as it needed to explain it to Angela without just telling her the answer.

It was really kind of heart-warming. It’s certainly a side of Sally I hadn’t seen before. She was acting a lot like a big sister. I was really proud of her. I was also really proud of Angela. It was obvious that she had absorbed a lot more material than you might assume based on her class efforts. To help Angela remember the word “sap”, Sally fed her the clue “tree water”, which is the same way I’d explained it in class a week or two ago, when I was quizzing kids about the vocab words in English. Angela got it right away, so it’s obvious that she is learning. She just can’t help but second guess herself.

Anyway, tonight I’m probably heading to the Banana Bar. Joel’s birthday was this week, so people are meeting there to celebrate. They may go to a club later. I don’t know if I want to go or not. I’m not a huge club person. We were planning on going to a new club that just opened nearby, but we heard it was “Korean only”. I’ve heard that some night clubs have adopted a no foreigner policy because of problems with foreigners, particularly army, coming in and acting the fool, to use the parlance of our times. I can understand that, but still, being told I can’t go somewhere because of my race is a really weird feeling.

Tomorrow I take off for my vacation. First up is Seoraksan,  Mt. Seorak. I’ll have to bus to Seoul and then to Sokcho, a tiny little town that has no train service, and the bus only goes to large cities. I’ll probably spend at least two days there. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow. Earlier today it absolutely poured for several hours. I’ll try to post at least small updates from the road.

Konglish of the Day:

Level 2:

History: There’s none people who do not fart. (Common Sense)*
History: Delicious chocolate~ It has been made in this way. (History of Chocolate)
History: The different ways of election of Korea and the U.S (The U.S. history,)
History: Which country has a king? (World History)
History: The origin of bank. (Common Sense)

*One of my favorites. Sure, it’s common sense, but what does it have to do with history?

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