Back into the fray today. I always get so awful and blase about Korea when I've gone too long out of the classroom. Then, when I return, I'm amazed to find (remember) that I actually love my job. This is why me and long-distance relationships don't go together -- when I go too long away from something I love, I tend to begin to write it off as incredibly mediocre in my mind. I don't know what that is. But anyway, I'm happy to be back.
Started with the baby first graders today, and commented in an email to Mags about how spectacular it is to have developed that illusive "projection of authority" that just comes with time, experience, and enough confidence that they can't smell the fear on you. I walk in, tell them to sit down and be quiet. And they just sit down and be quiet. As if something bad will happen if they don't. Without me even having to outline what that bad thing might be. It's incredible. And a very far cry from where I started.
Did have two nutbags in the second class which (surprise!) another temporary teacher is in charge of, but as soon as I dragged out The Special Chair and explained the concept of being The Special Student, they cut the shit for the rest of class.
This group doesn't seem nearly as nervous and goosey as my other boys have been in the beginning. They still freeze up when I approach them to listen in while they're doing their assignments, but as soon as I push them a little and engage with them, they decide nothing tragic is going to happen if I hear them make a mistake, and continue on.
Good stuff. And a great start to the new semester. It's officially good to be back.
Co told me the third grade students were surprised not to see me back on the first day of the semester, but that she had left it unexplained as to where I was exactly, because apparently some of them thought they spotted me from the window and shouted my name, and she didn't want to embarrass them. I have no idea exactly what that means, or who in the world could have been walking past who might resemble me (a foreigner). But it's sort of funny anyway.
Now, I've found out I have six days off in a row for Chuseok, and so the great Shanghai debate has begun. I don't fancy the idea of wiping out my monthly budget in one fell swoop, but I also hate how little traveling I've done since I've been here. So. We'll see.
Two hwaeshik scheduled already for this week. Fall semester is always the busier one, with far fewer nonsense days where everything is canceled. But at this point, I'm grateful for that. I've got big plans to lay low and save as much money as possible, and constant work engagements help to encourage that behavior.
Now I'm off to do something really exciting, like watch a movie, or read in bed. Because it's too humid to be out and about. Plus, two hwaeshik and a special "welcome back" coffee date this week spell the need to mentally prepare for loads of social interaction. Koreans and their drama over short departures. I love it. I really do.