Intrepid Girl Reporter


Korean for beginners

Additions to my list of favorite travel poster slogans:

“Come On Baby”

“Nice To Meet You, Sphinx!”

1J kept me afloat, but 1K brought me right back down again. Usually 1K is in my top five classes; they’re obnoxious, but they’re smart, which is what I tend to like. Because the desks were out of order, however, they took that as a license to totally disrespect me and do whatever they wanted, and as a result I gave out my second – my second! – Noise-O-Meter 5, on the same day. When my co-teacher for that class – we’ll call him Mr. Kang – finally showed up, they quieted down and started listening, but unfortunately he didn’t come until halfway through, and by that time they were already writing me letters of apology. Letters that, I should admit, almost redeemed them. Almost.

Here’s a taste.

Proof! PROOF that they were swearing in Korean! (Although “Teacher, do you know this word?” followed by repeated chanting of said word is a pretty clear giveaway.)

Well, NOW my heart many hurting.

Even as he denies it, he requests another chance.

I know.

And what might be my favorite:

I also got this unexpected bit of wisdom from a notebook some careless student left in my classroom:

Since when did anthropomorphic chairs become so wise? And how did they know that I needed reminding of this now?

My friend C asked me today how I do it – “it” being, I guess, teaching, pottery, yoga, volunteering, the journalistic outlet for which I’m writing, and allotting adequate time to spend with the Crew. The truth is that I didn’t know how to answer. The truth is that I don’t feel like I’m doing it, or much of anything really; I’ve been on the same lesson plan for WEEKS, because it turns out that what I had allotted for one lesson actually required three. (On a side note, I almost punched Quagmire at the English teachers’ workshop last Friday, when he kept talking about how HIS students could do activities that involved picking out adverbs from a story and couldn’t mine? My students do not understand the phrase “Use this word in a sentence.” But as one of the other teachers reminded me today, students at his school have a lot more parental support [and wherewithal], and anyway it does us no good to compare.) My lessons at the ASP, or Study Room, involve jumping and screaming out the names of colors, and usually I plan them on the way there. Somehow, when I think about what I do every day, the first thing that comes to mind is watching reruns of “The Office” on TVLinks. It just seems like I may be getting credit where it isn’t due.

I did, however, add another activity today: Korean class. It’s free, it’s offered at one of the local universities here, and it’s taught by a primary school teacher who just so happens to have been HB’s teacher last year. HB is apparently the spawn of the Devil. I didn’t know. I’m not entirely surprised, but I don’t know that I expected to see her face freeze when I mentioned him, or to hear her say, “Always, when I am drunk, I scream out his name.” Well, I like him? D kept calling me the HB of our class, because I asked too many questions and apparently accidentally cheated during a game, and every time he said his name, it was like he had mentioned Lord Voldemort. But then I walked home with this other teacher who had been sitting in and helping out with the class, and as we talked, I realized that getting involved helps me feel less like a foreigner. (Duh.) Then she told me all about how people used to compare her to Anne of Green Gables, and in English (and Korean!) we talked about our favorite cities. I’m going to learn a lot.

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