Last Week Before Vacation

Well, Monday wasn’t as bad as I was fearing it would be. It’s the last week before my vacation for winter, and coincidentally, it’s the first week of our winter break schedule, since school finished for the year on Friday. Kids have a break from school from December 24th to March 1st. Roughly, something like that anyway.  So, in normal fashion, for the break schedule, we had to drastically change the schedule. That meant I was working with classes at about half capacity today. A lot of kids came late because they forgot their class was moved to a new time. The best was the kid who came in at 2 PM, the last class of the day, but the normal time for him, a full four hours late for class. Nice. We also absorbed a lot of new, but mostly temporary students, who only want to study for a month.

On the new schedule, I’m teaching from 10 AM – 3 PM straight. The good thing is that I get out a full three hours before I get out normally, so I’m going to have a lot more free time. There are two drawbacks. I may have to prepare material for classes outside of work, or stay late to work on the computer at school. Also, I don’t get a lunch break. Originally I was meant to teach 9 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM – 3 PM, but I guess the parents got mad about having a class at 9 AM, so that class got moved to the lunch hour. Sweet.

There’s an entire class of new students. Only five actually showed up today. They seem like a good bunch. Their overall English level seems to be pretty good. One fourth grader speaks so naturally I actually had to ask her if she had lived in the States before. Her only experience out of the country was like a week in England. Every once in awhile, there are super smart kids that just take to English. It clicks for them, I guess. For that class, we did normal first day vocabulary work, and the last 20 minutes of the class was just chatting. After hearing on my evaluation that I’m not personable enough with my students (LOLE), I decided that with a class full of new students I would set aside some time to introduce myself and learn a bit about the kids I’ll be teaching for a month. The only real unenjoyable thing was a student that returned after quitting awhile back.

If you’ve been reading for awhile, you remember the first time I had it out with a student maybe five months ago. I’m not really sure. The girl was always super rude and disrespectful, and one day after disciplining her, she got mad enough to quit. While going over the new attendance sheets, I had seen her name and recognized it, but I hoped it wasn’t her. Sure enough, she has returned. Anyway, when I first saw her, she was in the wrong class, but I wasn’t about to correct the Korean teacher and have her come with me. She was also acting uncharacteristically shy and quiet. I could tell she was a little comfortable seeing me again. Anyway, she eventually found her way into my class. It didn’t take her long to kind of resume the same attitude she had with me before. For instance, with only four students in the class, I was just going through and calling everyone in order, but not only would she still raise her hand (not a big deal, everyone was) but she actually snapped her fingers at me. That made me a little pissed off, so I told her to quit it a couple times. I’d ask the Korean teacher to talk with her, but she only attends the class three days a week, and they’re all days I teach that class and not the Korean teacher. I’ll figure something out.

Also, I went to the scooter shop after work. The guy confirmed my rather inexpert opinion that the radiator was busted. I mean, he just told me I had to change “this”. Probably assumed correctly I don’t know the Korean word for whatever he was pointing at. Still, looked like a radiator to me. Then again, my mechanical knowledge of autoparts is pretty much zero. Anyway, he told me it’d take about an hour to change, so I should go soon. Hopefully it doesn’t cost too much.  I know the guy does things pretty cheaply. Getting the oil changed was only like $4. Seems like a pretty honest, decent fellow. Not like those scam artist mechanics in America.

Anyway, next week is my vacation, but I don’t have anything in particular planned. Probably just bumming around. I might go visit people in other cities if they’ve got some free time. I’m really just looking forward to having some time off. The last extended vacation I had was back in the third week of September. Three months of elementary kids every day for five hours is enough to drive anyone a little insane. I just need a little decompression time.

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