Intrepid Girl Reporter

Monday, 3/31: last night I dreamt that somebody loved me
March 31, 2008, 7:10 am
Filed under: classes, host sister, life on Jeju, skool, students, teaching

Actually, what I dreamt was a lot more mundane: that I had curly hair. And that I finished a poem.


1G – The Price is Right

  • introduced clap thing to control loud classes (i.e. I clap in a pattern and they clap back – much like Summerbridge)
  • did it work? or did it work for girls?
  • stop same kids from answering

1A – The Price is Right

  • one girl way ahead of everyone else (understood me when I said they would make me go deaf)
  • did clap thing

1-3 – The Price is Right

  • ril low…some didn’t even remember me
  • did clap thing
  • did NOT make anyone cry this week

1I – The Price is Right

  • not so hot…ACT punished them, didn’t get to game
  • did clap thing but then they mimicked it (uh oh)

The copy shop people at my school live in this bizarre alternate universe. Whenever I go to the shop, the door is always closed (“to keep in the heat”), so I have to knock –

This kid who is – I don’t think he’s special ed, exactly, because he’s in my class, but he’s allowed to wander at will and no one seems to question his total absence of work – anyway, he just came into the teacher’s office and tried to take the Punisher’s cell phone. When I attempted to get it back, he tried to play keepaway.

Anyway. So in the copy shop, they have a television and an armchair, and whenever I go in there I’m interrupting either a soap opera or some sort of game show, and they’re always just sort of sitting there, chilling out and smoking. Sometimes they will do whatever job you need. Other times they’ll show the teachers how to do it and go back to socializing and TV watching. There are three people who work there, and I never see them anywhere else. They might live there.

Saturday I went to see KES’ concert, and he was mortified to find that I had brought him flowers, as, it turns out, he was not actually playing in the concert, although he does live at the orphanage. Actually, orphanage isn’t exactly the right term, because a lot of these kids have families who are still alive, but for whatever reason they’re wards of the state. Which, as you might imagine, carries a much greater stigma than having parents who are dead. Anyway, there were a number of my students performing, including a few students whom I didn’t even realize were my students, but I didn’t have enough flowers to give all of them one, so I let KES keep them, even though he tried to give them back.

Apparently a lot of the kids at the Child Welfare Center (which is what the orphanage is officially called) go to my school, because the center is maybe ten minutes away. Sweater Girl lives at the orphanage. So does this kid whose English is pretty good, but who is not particularly well behaved. I think to myself that I wouldn’t have guessed – but what am I expecting, smudges of soot?

This particular center is rather well appointed, I think – I visited the babies there once with Host Sister, and the older kids were rollerblading around, and the people seemed nice and the grounds looked pretty, etc., and at the concert on Saturday they had soloists who appeared to be from the Jeju Orchestra or similar. Of course, it probably still wasn’t the kids’ first choice. Still, though, I’m starting to reconceptualize my notion of orphanages. The foster care system is so flawed in so many ways. We have this very “Little Orphan Annie” idea of these places in America, but are they so much worse than being shuttled from family to family?

Another surprise from the weekend: I had always assumed that Host Sister wasn’t a particularly good English writer, given her extreme reluctance to do so. But I proofed a report she wrote yesterday, one that included words like “attractive” and “consistent” and referenced the phrase “the clothes make the man.” I feel like I don’t even know her.


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