I've insisted on having the after school classes moved to the English Zone (my turf), despite the protests of the old hag about how very, very far the students have to walk in order for that to happen. This resulted in the most fun I've ever had in the nightmare class yesterday. In their regular classrooms, there are two doors, which I cannot fucking stand. I have no idea why a classroom would be designed in such a way. My old English Zone used to have two doors, and I would always lock the back one so that anyone coming in late had to walk in front of the entire class, where I was standing, speaking. It drove the co-teachers crazy, because they always come in late themselves.
Anyway, the English Zone only has one door, and it's a space I'm more in control of, can move more freely between the tables than the desks, etc. So we had a class yesterday called, "Teacher doesn't have any plans after work, so we're going to finish all three worksheets even if we have to stay at school until 5 o'clock". Isn't that exciting? The South African kid decided to show off but loosing a string of Korean swears for his buddies in response. I looked at him and said, "I speak more Korean than you think."
"Did you understand?"
"I got the gist of it. By the way, since you speak fluent English, don't you think it would be more honorable to swear in English? Swearing in Korean when you think I don't understand is just a bit cowardly, don't you think? There's really no point...."
He didn't really have anything to say back to that.
Well. Most of yesterday was absolutely lovely, despite being locked inside on a beautiful, sunny day with extremely rare good air quality. The third graders have been doing quite well with the assignments I've been giving them lately, and actually talking to me more, as a class, instead of just individually. We've been having a great time. I had the one extremely awkward class on Friday -- the one that always makes me doubt myself and feel really self-conscious with their silences. Still doing "How do you like ____?"/"Can you tell me why you (don't) like _____?", and the worksheet I gave them left one spot open for them to write their own questions.
Somehow in this class, a striking percentage of the write-ins turned out to be, "How do you like Liz Teacher?" There had been a few of those throughout the week of course, almost exclusively ending with the answer, "She's really pretty." Great, original work on that one, guys.
But when I started walking around, looking at the answers for this class, I saw something that really surprised me, from this class of all classes.
"How do you like Liz Teacher?"
"I really like her."
"Can you tell me why you like her?"
"She cares about us very much."
"She worry about us a lot."
"She's really kind."
"She don't care mistakes."
I've given this class more than one "talk" about how if I say, "What?" when they finally do manage the courage to whisper out an answer in front of the class, it's not because their English is horrible and they're stupid -- it's because they stare down at their books and speak in mouse voices. And about how I'm learning Korean, and I know how hard and embarrassing it is, but that it's okay -- I'm there to help them, not laugh at them. But I didn't think any of it was sinking in at all. I guess I was wrong about that, and I'm more grateful for that than just about anything else in my life right now.
Last night I finally got to meet some of Mike's students, as we were lingering around the square in his neighborhood trying to decide what to do for dinner. The way he talks about the girls, I was dead set against ever working at a girls school, but after meeting them and seeing that they have just as much energy and spark as the boys, I don't think it would be so bad. I really enjoyed getting to spend a little time with them.
I don't know what's gotten into me, but I've been a bit moody the last couple of times we've gone out. Last weekend, I just chocked it up to being really sick and not really wanting to be anywhere at all. This weekend, I don't know where it came from. I think the blatant disinterested silence may have bothered Small Town a bit, who's far less used to it out of me than Mike is. When 1:45 rolled around, I suddenly just felt like I couldn't take it anymore and announced that I was going home.
I think I've been looking past a lot of things since I moved to SK. And that's all well and good -- the events in my life up until that point, last year, were something any God-created human being has every right to escape from for a while. But I think I've really just left myself for a while. I don't know. I don't know how to explain it, but I don't think any of it is bad. Like I've said many times before, a lot of really serious re-structuring is going on with me and my priorities, my way of thinking and viewing the world. Now it feels like the Novocaine is wearing off a bit, if you will. Alcohol isn't enough to cover over it anymore.
It's month seven. I wonder what's going to happen.