More monsters and the Pinkie Toe Mystery.

Firstly, let me just introduce some of Hyosung's finest. These are some of my first graders. Since they were doing the monster exercise today, I thought I would finally have a change to get a few photos without causing anymore pandemonium than was already going on.

Classroom table hierarchy works like this:

Quiet, shy boys at the back middle table.

Loud, but smart: back table, furthest from the door.

Front and center: talkative, but well-behaved and among the smartest, with the back table furthest from the door.

Back table, closest to the door is the smartass table. Always.

Front right, directly in front of my desk: class clowns.

As clearly demonstrated by, "Teacher just one more photo!"

And the smartest and best behaved, front left.

Just look how nicely they're working together.

And this is my favorite photo. Back right again. Two of my favorite students in this one. The one without his jacket is possibly the most charming thirteen year old I've ever met, and the one in the middle of a big laugh has the biggest personality.

The rest of their drawings can be seen here, as well as some of the ones we've done with English directions in front of the class. I think they are coming out shockingly well. I'm pretty sure they're sneaking some Korean past me, but for the most part, they've done really well.

Today I had Mr. Attitude and his goofy looking sidekick again. My coteacher did eventually show up, but not until I had the class firmly in my grip. I've had enough of the nonsense and I refuse to be one of the native English teachers who can't control their classes and get treated like doormats. Mr. Attitude and his friend decided to continue talking even after I had made it clear we weren't going to have the usual ridiculousness today to the rest of the class -- it wasn't just, I Don't Really Know What's Going On So I'm Going To Strike Up A Conversation talking. It was Fuck You Teacher, And The Horse You Rode In On talking. And God help me, I snapped.

I gave them one warning. I explained that it made no difference to me whether I had them in my classroom or not -- that, in fact, I would prefer not to have to look at their faces for another forty-five minutes. The talking continued and they were out.

Fucking amazing. The rest of the class were the most attentive I have ever had any class be for the duration of the period. By the time the coteacher moseyed on in, they were sitting up straight in their seats craning their necks to see the vocabulary I was going over and repeating everything in careful, well-pronounced unison. Not an off topic murmur among them. And there was not one single dick drawing during that class. That I managed to catch, anyway.

Five classes on a Monday is rough, and after the fourth I'm usually visibly exhausted. After the third graders finished cleaning my classroom today, there were still ten minutes of cleaning time left, so I turned off the lights and put my head down on my desk. It wasn't two minutes before my classroom doors started violently shaking. I went out in the hall to find the main hallway doors closed and someone pushing up against them. When I pushed them back open in the opposite direction, the usual thirty or so third graders were on the other side.

"What are you doing?"

"Oh... uh. Teacher, game. Game."

"You are making my doors shake."


"I'm tired. Be quiet, please."

"Oooh. Tired."

I pushed the doors all the way open and locked them in place and then went back to my room and put my head down again. Two minutes later I heard a tapping on the door window. I looked up to see My Friend making a heart with his hands. I waved and put my head back down. He opened the door.

"I love you!"

"That's nice."

I don't know how to describe what came next in any kind of detail, other than to say that he proceeded to do a little dance with his hands in the shape of a heart.

"What are you doing?"

"I Love You Dance!"

"The "I Love You" Dance?"

"Yes! Teacher I love you! Fighting!"

"Aja aja...."


"Yes. Fighting. Thank you."

At lunch, Mr. Lee asked me (in Korean) why I didn't join them in speaking Korean, and I told him (in English), that I wasn't good enough yet. And wouldn't be for a long time. For the rest of lunch, Mr. Lee told me little words here and there in Korean, which is hopeless, because I can't remember things if I just hear them, especially just once. Mr. Kwan was immensely bothered by this, and shouted something in Korean and then said in English, "Don't you teach her Korean! She doesn't want to learn from you..."

Mr. Kwan missed school on Friday because he broke his pinkie toe. He absolutely refuses to tell me why. "Please, don't ask me anymore." I'm going to find out. Don't worry about that. But now, for some reason, he has to wear this ridiculous boot on his foot for six weeks. He told me, "I don't want to spend Christmas wearing this. Alone. At home. By myself." Long pause. "I have a very sad life."

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