They've still got me out of the classroom at work. I'm really starting to lose it. I'm getting headaches in the afternoon that I'm convinced are being brought on by pure boredom and despair. I won't go into all of the details of why I'm still not teaching, and the utterly disastrous state of things with our school's English program at the moment (because it's largely boring, and far too complicated), but I hope we find a way to work it out soon.
I'm having some trouble adjusting to the new main co-teacher situation, as this co-teacher has not been around me for last year, and left while I was still a complete newb to all of this. I, apparently, had come to take Old Coteacher's trust in me and willingness to allow (and even encourage) me to participate in every little detail of everything as an equal partner to the Korean teachers for granted. As a result, I find myself not only thrown out of the classroom, but left out of every other aspect of the work at hand as well. Which means I'm literally purposeless at the moment. Which doesn't set well with me.
I'm also getting quite agitated about one of the options being discussed as a solution for the scheduling conflicts, which would mean me seeing my second graders once every SIX -- FUCKING SIX! -- weeks. How is that... why even bother? At that point, I'm not a teacher, but a performer -- a token event. Not happy about this "idea". At all. We'll see how it all pans out. New Coteacher is starting to clue into my new levels of competence, though, so I imagine we'll work that side of things out eventually.
It's gotten to the point now where the boys at the center are confused when I don't know a word in Korean. It's funny, watching them try to work through understanding how all of this works. The reason for their confusion is that a. I've gotten very, very used to their speaking voices and catch literally almost all of what they say to each other (given that they're teenage boys and the topics of conversation are pretty limited, plus the exact same kind of conversation I'm around all day with my students at work) and b. due to their extremely low levels, I'm using some of my first grader lesson plans from work with them. This means I've already taught these lessons to C level first graders, which means I already know all of the vocabulary in Korean, because that was the only way to keep C level first grade classes on track. Therefore, I'm obviously fluent, and what the hell is up with her not answering us when we ask how to say this or that word in English?
The head teacher has also thrown any efforts to speak English right out the window and now just confronts me with full adult sentences in Korean. When a new student was thrown in with me today, he panicked, as she went to leave the room: "Alone?! With the foreign teacher?! How can we do this?!"
The head teacher answered, simply, "She speaks Korean." And closed the door.
Well. Not exactly. Not at all, actually. But we still work it out.
I can't imagine working at this center if I didn't speak any Korean at all. I think the whole thing would have completely collapsed by now.
They worked hard tonight, though. I gotta give credit where credit is due. We've started doing little breathing exercises at the start of our sessions to get calmed down and focused. And Geonhee has been elevated to the status of "Teacher's Special Friend", which means he has to sit right next to me so I can clamp my hand over his mouth if he gets going while I'm trying to explain something.
Since the weather's warmed up, they're no longer fighting the head teacher when she insists someone walk me to the bus station, but tonight all came running out at once. Seonghyeon, the sweetheart, stayed right by my side, as Jeongwoo and Geonhee raced along the bike path up above us. Jeongwon came up behind on a bicycle. They were causing quite a ruckus and we had an entire audience of gawking neighbors stopped in their tracks, observing us as we said goodbye. This neighborhood, at least, has not adjusted to my presence just yet.
Although my old third graders, now high schoolers, have been stirring up quite a fuss when they encounter me on the streets these days as well. They seem a thousand fold more excited to talk to me, now that I'm not their teacher. Little fuckers. I see them coming toward me with their crazy hair and sharp new high school uniforms, now with the balls to shout out my full first name, instead of addressing me as "Teacher". Full grown, badass little men, they are now.
Love. They gotta get me back in the classroom soon.