I was really tired today. I don't have the foggiest idea why, but I was. I scared the bejesus out of one of my first grade classes, when my co-teacher left me alone with them for the first time, and they decided to test my limits. Not wise. After I had them all sitting up stick straight in their seats in total silence, I gave them the same speech I always do: "I am a friendly teacher, but I can be a scary teacher, too. Don't make me be a scary teacher. I don't like it. Don't make me angry. Okay?"
My after school class had to open with some business about a reading contest that is coming up, and which of them wanted to participate. Since I had my low second graders today, I did half of my thinking in Korean, which wears me out incredibly quickly. This is having great results with the low second graders, who previously have not been able to communicate with me at all (most of them can barely even read English), but who are starting to see me as an actual human being, now that I can understand a lot of what they're saying, and they're able to communicate with me. Which has seen their behavior do a huge 180.
Today I scored extra bonus points by telling one of the super cool guys that he looked like a worm in his bright green puffy vest. Then, the cool guy table decided to show me that if I put my fingertip to one of theirs to form a triangle, and then run my fingers on my other hand down both my finger and his, it feels like an alien finger.
I'm telling you, folks. You don't get this kind of thing in a normal lifetime.
But. It exhausts me and stresses me out going back and forth between English and Korean all day. It's like trying to think with two brains at literally the same time, since one student will be asking a question in English, while the other is talking over him in Korean.
The same thing kicked up in my after school class, with about ten of them shouting out questions all at the same time, in both Korean and English. I tried to get them to settle down, to no avail, and then I freaked and slammed my hand down on the podium.
"GUYS! Today is NOT a good day for this. I am tired. You are making my head hurt with the Korean. You are high level -- you can speak English. Please don't make me understand your Korean right now."
Mr. Grumpy Pants chose this moment to prove a point and clear his throat incredibly loudly.
"나가. 난 피곤해. 집에 가. 난 상관 없어."
"집에 가고 싶지 않아?"
"Then be quiet. Today is not the day. You made your choice."
After work, I was going to go to a coworker's house to study with her two lovely daughters for a while. She lives in Bucheon, and I had planned on meeting C after to check out a new Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood, but when I revealed this to her when we got into the car, she freaked out and said her mother had been preparing dinner for us when we arrived.
This situation... the thing is, I've met the girls before, and they speak fluent English (after living in New York for two years), and I'm particularly fond of the older girl who is extremely bright and ambitious. The teacher offered to pay (basically proposing privates), but I sternly refused when Coteacher was trying to negotiate this. It's illegal, I said. Coteacher insisted that it's quite normal among teachers, to tutor each other's children in different subjects, even though it's technically illegal. Great. So you get fined and move on with your life. I could have my visa revoked, lose my job and get deported. No thank you. I think I can live without the extra 50,000 won a week.
But when I found out that I was expected to stay for dinner as well, even though I know that ultimately the teacher just viewed it as a sort of thank you, and the least she could do, I sort of flipped my shit. Silently and to myself, of course. But the shit was flipped, nonetheless. Not only am I teaching your kids for free, but now I have to cancel my plans as well. Are you fucking kidding me?
I'm kind of an asshole sometimes, especially when I feel like something(/one) is interfering with what I think I should be doing, or if I feel trapped -- like I can't say no to something.
Of course, dinner was lovely, and after spending two hours with those girls, there's no way I could stay angry. Especially with YJ, the older of the two, asking me questions like, what did you want to be when you grew up? Are you satisfied with your life? What do you think I should do with my future? What a brilliant young woman. And the little one, YL, sent me home with a bag full of oranges and two homemade cards, one of which that reads (for no apparent reason): "Chocolate love! Thank you for teaching me!" (Am I chocolate love?).
Anyway. Whatever. Consider the attitude firmly adjusted. I don't know what got into me today. Just one of those days, I guess. Now, I'm just looking forward to my ajumma class tomorrow, and making it halfway through yet another week and forward ho to the weekend.