Teaching. Who would have thought?
Teaching is going well. The kids are actually pretty funny. And they work very hard. I have a kindergarden class and a class with a couple of 15 and 16 year olds and a range of students in between. The kindergardeners get to do a little more because this is their only school (I think) where the older students just come in for specific classes after regular school. I went on a field trip a couple of weeks ago with the kindergardeners. They have birthday parties and gym and science, of which I am not a fan. Science is always a chaotic mess and the projects never seem to work for me. They also have an English concert in February. My kindergardeners are learning the lyrics to Dancing Queen by Abba (apparently Abba remains a big deal here). They are funny because they all know the chorus and they sing it REALLY LOUDLY but then they only know the last words to some of the lines of the rest of the song so they just start dancing.
They are a very smart, very funny bunch with great English but they are also SO competative and I believe they would do just about anything for a sticker. They all want to be first at everything. It's gotten so bad that the other day, they started trying to line up by the door (to leave) 10 minutes into class. I was like Okay we still have 30 minutes left. My other classes are far less eventful because a lot of the older kids won't really speak to me. And if I ask them to speak they seem mortified. They will laugh uncomfortably and look at their friends and then they read or talk so softly you can barely hear them with their faces turned down so they are staring at their papers. There are exceptions in most classes where there are 1 or 2 students who don't mind talking to me and in those cases, its hard to get them to shut up so we can get through our lessons. I don't think I am very good at discipline. I feel like I am getting a little better at it but still I think they can tell that they can get away with more around me than they might be able to with some other teachers. Fortunatly, its not even close to those 9th grade monsters I subbed for so I am not too concerned. The clothes and haircuts here can be a little adrogenous (or super girly) and sometimes they really mess up the whole English name selection so my least favorite problem is when I can't tell if a child is a boy or a girl. It's hard because I don't want to use the wrong pronouns. I had a student who I was unsure of for a week or so. I finally had to ask one of the other teachers. My students seem to love playing with toilet paper. Now this is apparently not a generalization of Korean students or students at my school but only the students who are in MY classes!!! Or at least according to the other teachers. I don't know what it is I am doing that drives these kids to seek fun in toilet paper but it happens. There is a big roll of toilet paper some of the classrooms (?????). My kids rip it up and throw it like confetti. They tape it to the tops of their heads and tie it around their faces. It's a little strange but kind of nice. (So Anna, when you read this, take note. When Batman grows a little and she is asking for all sorts of expensive toys she sees on commercials, you can just tell her to be happy with her roll of toilet paper like Auntie Heather's Korean kids were). This concludes my boring, informational, school blog. Next time perhaps I will address the much more important topic of Korean commercials, a new interest rivaling that in Mr. Pizza. Or maybe I will make a list of all of the great accessories that I want to buy. By the way, I have a new Korean sparkling headband and its fantastic!