Daily Life in Korea 64

I got to teach 3rd grade mostly by myself today.  Actually, it was pretty easy because them babies got themselves a routine going and they run through all the lessons in the same order and in the same way.  It’s pretty easy to know what to do even if you don’t know what your lovely white teacher is saying exactly.

Also, 3rd graders scare easy when you shout.  You shout, they shut up.  Or in the case of my second class, you can just wait them out.  Apparently that age is young enough to want approval, delights in playing “adult” and enforcing rules with their peers, and will easier conform and shape up instead of just being jaded and apathetic.  So, my cuties would call out to be quiet to each other and about a minute of me not doing anything would get most of them hushed.  Aww, love my little 3rd graders.  Also, they can’t talk back yet.

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Daily Life in Korea 56

Because the elementary textbooks and lessons are so rigidly structured, there isn’t spare time to teach cultural sensitivity or differences.

I think this is a loss, because frankly, there probably isn’t going to be any practical or reasonable time for my students to EVER use English.  I say that because I don’t think learning English to speak it during an interview with other Korean people is reasonable.  Actually, it just seems pretty stupid to me.  Also, it is pretty likely all they ever learned was Konglish.  Yes, my students are only learning English for their future job interviews at big Korean companies.

Daily Life in Korea 42

Sometimes I hear old English songs sung in Korean, for example, while watching the Korean drama Love Rain.

When I can remember the English words, I just think of those known lyrics overtop of the weird, unfamiliar Korean lyrics (which are just an affront to the original song).

But when I can’t remember the original lyrics, but just remember the melody-that is infuriating.

During those moments, all I can think is that I know this is a song I know but that I can’t remember.


Daily Life in Korea 29

Today was a national science day for elementary students.

I say that because I assumed it was nationwide after two other foreigner English teachers said it was science day at their schools too.

So I had no classes.

When I asked my co-teacher about whether we had class today, she said 2nd, 3rd, and 4th period.  That is when we normally have class.  But not today.  Today her classroom was empty.  I waited a whole five minutes before leaving.

Grieving 4

Grief is loss.

Sometimes the sense of loss steals more than just joy and wholeness.

Sometimes it steals identity.

Grief over losing who you defined yourself as.  Grief over losing who you defined yourself with.

My friend R sent me this link.  R likes strange music, bicycles, and strong convictions.

The Division Of Gravity

The woman talks about strength.  Strength to value herself.

But there is still grief.

Daily Life in Korea 15

I can’t stand on two feet.

I am notoriously clumsy.  I have had more scraped knees as an adult than anyone I know.  I trip up all the time it seems.

Remarkably, it seems I only started tripping when I realized I could start tripping.  As a child, I don’t remember getting many injuries.  Most of my scars are post-adolescence.

But today, after taking a sick day yesterday, I fell to my knees on my way to work.  Literally, I tripped and ripped the tips of my shoes (which are too big for my feet) and landed on my knees.  My right knee  took the fall.  Torn tights and bleeding wound-still late for work, but now it seems so much more legitimate than just “over-sleeping”.  And the perfect excuse to take a cab.  But the Korean man who saw my tumble needed to ask, “What happened?”  (I might have liberally translated whatever sounds he uttered into that-mid shock.)

My co-teacher looked at my face and said I needed to take a rest.  Actually, I need to go to the nurse and get a band-aid, but we still talk about what happened yesterday and how sick I look until there is nothing more to say.  Then I point to my bleeding kneecap.  Off to the nurse I go.

The nurse is awesome because she likes me, talks to me, and offers me the use of her microwave when I heat my non-kimchi lunches.  But we haven’t visited since I relocated to the fourth floor and started eating cucumbers.  She also had heard about me resigning  … (if only I could eat Korean food well like Ping Ping’s husband).

So, I am sitting up on a sick-bed, getting my knee disinfected.  Alcohol is put on it.  And I need to have fabric pulled from out of my scrape.  The nurse tells me she is a registered nurse.  She asks if I knew.  I realized I assumed she was and I know better than to assume things in South Korea.  And more disinfectant.  There are literally four students lined up to see the nurse now.  The last boy got a big smile when he saw me and then respectfully bowed.  It must make a kid’s day to see his exotic white giraffe of a teacher with a scraped knee in the nurse’s office.  He just keeps smiling.  I try to ask him if he is sick.  Being talked to in English took that smile off of his face right quick.

The band-aid actually covers all of my knee.  I limped up to my classroom, but the teachers I work with are busy with their own classes which have already started (I’m lucky to have first period off).  So I limp off to the sixth grade teachers’ lounge.  There I drink green tea, look at a yearbook that I had to take my photograph for but which has no photograph of me inside, and eventually meet Gaby-a sixth grade homeroom teacher who is just that (her American friend gave her that nickname).

My American friend suggests I visit the doctor to confirm I don’t have a fractured kneecap.  I seriously consider this until he suggests that I merely exaggerating.  Which I am-I don’t need to be limping-but I do have my entire knee covered in the most giant band-aid and what else am I supposed to do with that.

So, off to my classroom where students ask if I am okay.  Because their teacher told them to ask me that.

And I’m off to teach.  And sit in a very short chair because my leg hurts.  And say the word “ball”.  Actually, today’s lesson was “It’s a ball.”   But the lesson title was wrote as, “It’s a Tall.”  Not kidding you at all.

After three classes, it is lunch time and then eventually I take a cab ride home.  I sat in the cab until the driver pulled onto the other side of the street where my building is.  Because I refused to jay-walk with my busted kneecap.  It is just a matter of principle.