Ah. Today was a good one.
No good teachers in the office, but I made a lot of progress with the camp boys. Originally I had intended to use the last fifteen minutes of class as sort of free time -- put on some English language music, bust out the comic books, games and playing cards and let them do what they willed. And spend a little time just talking and getting to know them. To my utter amazement, however, instead of rushing out the door as soon as I call time for the fifteen minute breaks, they stuck around and got dug right in. It took a while for them to actually touch the things I'd laid out on the table for them -- lots of dawdling around in front of the table muttering in Korean, looking at me, looking at each other. But once I took the stack of comic books and spread them out across the table, they dove right in.
And suddenly, the little buggers were talking. To me. In English.
Big Man didn't show up today -- I don't think English Camp is his cup of tea, but I made a real effort to make friends with The Rain Cloud. His is the first name I learned. When he came in today, I told him I was sorry he's stuck here with the little kids. I don't think he understood. During the second worksheet (we were working on "can"), he wrote "I can play basketball." When I saw this, I pointed and said, "I bet you can. You're very tall."
"You." I raised my hand above my head. "Tall."
The grumpy bastard actually cracked a smile. "Ah. Thank you."
Under the "What can you not do?" section, he wrote, "I cannot love."
I guess some things are universal at sixteen, melodrama being one of them. Cute.
During the card game, I tried putting him with a first grader as a partner, but the first grader looked like he was going to pee his pants. I don't know if this third grader is some sort of known badass, or if it's just that intimidating to deal with someone two years older than you at that age, but it wasn't working. So I changed the first grader to another partner, and took the third grader myself. He loosened up a lot, even though the game was stupid and childish for his age, and actually started smiling and "aash"ing when I was beating him. It ended in a tie.
Anyway, he didn't storm out of the back door when class was over today, like he did yesterday.
One kid in my first class teamed up with another kid and they had their phones out and were writing on a slip of paper. I went over to scope it out -- they were using their phone dictionaries to translate the fact that he won't be in class on Friday because he's receiving an award for cooking? Fucking hell. Maybe he can teach me. I told him girls love a man who can cook.
And as for my second "low" class, ah. Well, I'm in love with them. Today during the break, the two older boys grabbed a deck of cards and consulted each other for a moment. "Teacher, would you like to join us?" Fucking hell -- where did that scrap of impeccable (and polite) English come from? How can you say no to that?
They taught me how to play One Card, which even the Korean teachers didn't attempt in English when they were playing it on the bus. When a loud and emphatic "씨발!" erupted from the card game adjacent to ours, and my head snapped over, there was a moment of universal panic in the classroom, as the boys realized I'm not entirely unversed in Korean.
I also learned "obso" today. I heard it approximately 30 million times.
Oh. And there was the vocabulary word "puck", as in "hockey puck". As the image came up on the screen, I said, "Now. Careful with this one boys..." Riotous laughter.
In way of explanation, let me just say that "koepi" means "coffee", here. And it's not uncommon for foreigners to have random Koreans look at them on the street and say, "Puck you."
Lo and behold, the last class stayed for forty-five minutes after class was over, playing games, listening to music and chatting, until phones started to ring with concerned mothers.
Anyway, I feel like this camp (as horrible as the time leading up to it has been) is going to be a fantastic learning opportunity for me as a teacher. Everyone reading this blog by now knows how desperately I want to not suck at my job. So even though I was up until 11 last night altering lesson plans, and will probably be up just as late tonight, I'm taking it all in stride. And with rewards as great as I got in class today -- and even though the guys staying after meant 45 fewer minutes for lesson planning at work -- how could I stay upset?
These boys, on the whole, though -- it has to be said -- have absolutely abysmal taste in music. Must work on this.