A Pretty Good Friday

As the title would imply, I had a pretty good day at work on Friday. I was kind of dreading it when I woke up, up until about the last half hour before classes. Friday is a bit of a dualistic day. It’s one of my long days, 9 AM – 6 PM, and I have the most classes of any day, seven. Conversely, the first four classes are only half hour classes, so it’s pretty easy to get through those, even when you don’t really have anything left to do in the book and you’ve already done your normal outside of book work. My first class, I played a Who Wants to be a Millionaire PowerPoint game, which is generally pretty popular with the kids. Second class I don’t even really remember what we did. Just bullshitted around for half an hour.

My third class, one that’s generally a bit more rowdy and hard to keep under control was really well behaved. The reason being a photographer had come in to take pictures for the company website or something, which made the kids really self conscious, so they really settled down. They all raised their hands and kept themselves under control. You have to love that about kids. The moment they know they’re being watched their behavior changes drastically. Fourth class had their end of the month vocabulary test. One of my favorite students got 100% on it, and ended up winning the end of the month prize for points on a tie-breaker. Actually, earlier this week I was told I could no longer give 5,000 won as a prize, because parents had complained, so I gave out 5,000 gift certificate type things. I expected there to be a mutiny. I imagined the ground running red with the blood of innocents, but most kids were still quite happy to receive it, and the worst reaction I got was a simply surprised reaction because they didn’t know what it was. Anyway, I digress. I had kind of been rooting against my favorite student in the class. Not really against him, but for another student. Up until this point he’s been a much more reluctant student. However, this month he really turned it around, and was tied for the lead in points. I really wanted to reward him. Maybe Monday I’ll give him something to encourage him to keep trying.

My first two hour long classes I played a Jeopardy themed PowerPoint game. That was a hit. The five categories were Vocabulary, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, and Bonus. The kids were really curious about the Bonus section, but I wouldn’t tell them what the questions were about. They were about me. Just common knowledge type stuff. The questions ranged from ten to fifty points, and were as follows: How do you spell my name? What country am I from? How old am I? How long have I been in Korea? What color are my eyes? For whatever reason, the kids thought this was awesome. I had just put it in because there were five categories in the slideshow, and I felt obligated to fill them, but I couldn’t think of anything else to put in from the story. The eye color one was especially fun. Being Korean, they don’t really pay attention to eye color, because everyone’s eyes are the same color. So the first couple guesses were brown, black, and then blue – the token foreigner eye color. Eventually, they got to green.  Age was also pretty funny. I got everything from 21 to 34 years old. I know for a fact I’ve told my students my age, because when I first got here, that was one of the first questions all my classes asked. Anyway, the game was a lot of fun, so I’ll definitely be playing that again.

My last class wasn’t awful, but it isn’t a real fun class either. It’s like 16 kids in an advanced class, though there are plainly several students who don’t deserve to be there. Friday was a pretty simple day though. I gave them their vocabulary list for their next test and then we read a story out of the book. Nothing terribly taxing. I have a lot of trouble keeping the kids from talking and ignoring the reading, so this time instead of reading in a row, I picked kids randomly to keep them on their toes. It worked for awhile, but towards the end of class they were definitely drifting.

No matter how good the day was, the best part of Friday is the end. I went to Dolce, as usual, and it was Country-Western night. I went mainly because the bar recently got beer pong tables. I only played one game and narrowly lost after a successful rebuttal. Oh well. Such is the game. I enjoyed fucking with people. I kept putting Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” into the playlist in random places. For some reason, this really bothered people. Despite the fact that the same people are there a lot and never put on country music, so it’s not like they’re huge fans. I guess they were just into the theme. I had a good conversation with Conner, this Irish guy who’s been here for nine years. I can’t say how long I’ll be here, but I wouldn’t rule out ten years. It just depends on what happens.

Oh, there were a couple weird things about Friday. I got a package from home from my mom. On the front, on the US customs label, it read: Deodorant – 1, Q-tips – 1, Dinosaur Toys – 1. Ugh. Fantastic. Now every postal worker between the US and Korea thinks I’m some smelly, waxy person in desparate need of dinosaur toys. I had asked for the deodorant and Q-tips because they’re harder to find than you’d think, especially deodorant now that the weather is cooling off. Still, the dinosaur toys were weird. Obviously for the kids. They’re actually those little pills you put in hot water and they open and expand into dinosaur shapes. Maybe that’s what I’ll give the student who came in a close second in my one class.

The only other thing of note was a strange religious comic book I found in one of my classrooms when I was cleaning up before class. Glancing through it, it was immediately obvious that it was a religious tract aimed at kids, but I was curious, so I started translating it. It’s really weird. I don’t want to give it away. It’s only 14 pages, and I’m already halfway through. When I’m done, I’ll take pictures and post a page or two with each blog along with translations. It’s pretty funny.

Later today, I’m going to Daejon to meet a friend from OSU. It’s kind of surreal. I’ve met a couple Buckeyes in Korea already, but having someone I knew from home coming to Korea and seeing them is a bit weird. We weren’t exactly bosom buddies or anything, but we had a couple classes together and we went to a couple parties together. It’ll definitely be a lot of fun.

Korean Word of the Day:

진정하다 –  jin-jeong-hada – Pretty simple word. It’s not any weird cultural slang or anything. Just means: relax, be calm, etc… I use this constantly at school. I tell the kids to relax, chill out, etc… then repeat myself in Korean.


One Response to “A Pretty Good Friday”

  1. Mockingbird Says:

    You write: “Being Korean, they don’t really pay attention to eye color, because everyone’s eyes are the same color. So the first couple guesses were brown, black, and then blue – the token foreigner eye color. Eventually, they got to green. ”

    Color me skeptical. If your eyes are a different color from what they are accustomed to, it is more plausible that it would have been one of the first things they noticed about you, along with (if you wear short sleeves in their presence) the hair on your forearms; and that their struggle to find the right English word has some other cause than an inability on their part to perceive differences in eye-color.

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