10.12.2010

Tired, work is annoying but students are cute.

Aigoo. I'm seriously exhausted. I've been on the shit end of some behavior at work lately and it's really rubbing me the wrong way, because I'm two years in and all of my main co's and I have great working relationships and there's no reason for this. Other than the temp teachers, who have no idea what's going on. Which mostly only affects the students and me, because I have to work with them.

They're terrible about notifying me about schedule changes, which is fine when the change is a cancellation, or in the middle of the week when all my materials are already prepped. But when it's on the first teaching day of the week, and it's a change to first period, during which time I had been planning on making my copies and uploading my files, it's irritating. Luckily Co got right on that shit today when she saw me frustrated, because she never sees me frustrated and she must have known it was bad. She sent the teachers in question a message about how they need to be better about notifying me of things. I said that I was really sorry she felt she had to do that, becasue ultimately it's not her responsibility, and she said, yes but it's been happening a lot lately, and I've seen you just accept it. She pointed out that it's easier for them to take the correction off of her because she's older and she's the head of the department. Fair enough. She's good people, even if the immigration thing from yesterday did get on my nerves a bit.

Then the new male co-teacher told me that, although something I was teaching is technically right, it's not the way they (all Koreans everywhere, apparently) learn it -- it's not the way Koreans speak English. I've heard tales of other people's co-teachers saying things like that, but I've never experienced it firsthand. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. I saw his point about correcting the materials so that we both had the same version, so as not to confuse the (very low level) students and agreed right away, even though it did ruffle my feathers a bit that he seemed to be just placating me, while suspecting that I was actually just wrong. But even after I agreed to change the materials, he kept harping on about it twice more, even going so far as to drag out a middle school English textbook to prove the point. Because we all know textbooks in Korea never have mistakes in them. And it wasn't a mistake, as I had already explained -- just something that there is more than one way of correctly saying. After I'd already agreed to change the materials the way he wanted, I didn't really see what the point of continuing the conversation was, because it wasn't as though he was just asking me for clarification, or trying to understand something -- he was officially correcting me. So I just said, yes I understand and I will make the changes, bowed and walked out.

It's nice when a man who's admitted that he just didn't want to work his office job anymore, so he became a temporary English instructor takes such a firm stance with the native English speaker with a background in language studies, copy editing and university level education experience. I've been very charmed by him, so far. The best part is that seven students showed up to his class today without so much as a pencil in tow. No book. No notebook. Nothing but smug little looks on their faces. And when he says, sit down and be quiet, in Korean, they basically just scoff. I jumped on all their asses, stood the boys without books at the back of the room with their arms up (from where they couldn't return, until they shouted out correct answers during the lecture) and gave them a bit of a lecture about how they have changed and I don't like it. His classes are full-on circus grounds. Which is fine. He's new at this. But I would take scolding about my own native language a bit better from someone who could actually at least control his students. Just saying.

Yes. I'm having a rough couple of days. But I figure it will satiate those of you who find my blog altogether too glowy and apparently ignorant of the terrible things we foreigners go through here in the ROK. I have bad days, too. And the fucking mogi still being around for some god-forsaken reason so late in the year, to the extent that they kept me awake until nearly 2 am last night with their incessant inter-ear buzzing is not helping.

All of that having been said, I finally got a little one-on-one time with the firsties today, with whom I've mostly been doing teacher-oriented group activities with little time for direct interaction so far. They're cute as fuck. And I'm always so charmed by those first few interactions, when they start out terrified and convinced they can't understand, but you get to slowly show them that they can understand you, and that speaking English is nothing to be afraid of. When you see their little faces pure beam with joy the first time they successfully listen to and correctly answer a question in English from a native speaker. Whether they give a shit about English or not (and they don't).

Something has been happening with this batch that I've never seen happen before, which is that they will cry out at me to just, please, speak Korean! I don't know if it's because word has gotten out that I can (a bit... not nearly well enough to teach a lesson, obviously) or if it's just something they're doing for the hell of it. Anyway, then I give a lecture called If Liz Teacher Can Go Around Everywhere Besides School Having to Listen to and Speak Korean 24 Hours a Day, Then You Can Handle Doing it for 45 Minutes a Week. Aka, suck it up and deal. Same thing with, Teacher please I can sleeping! No. If Teacher doesn't get to sleep, then neither do you.

Now the clock is turning over on 9pm, and I'm going to finish this episode of Nae Yeojachingooneun Gumiho and hit the sack. Hard. And hopefully with out any microscopic buzzing little companions.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nae Yeojachingooneun Gumiho is a cute korean drama. Nice pick! Got to watch a few episodes with my wife when I wasnt busy with work.

Too bad about schedule changes. My korean friends/famliy are constantly changing plans after the fact that we already made up our minds and I'm always the last to find out =p. Used to drive me bonkers but I've somewhat accepted it and just go with the flow now. If I would have to deal with it at work I think I would jump off a cliff. Not alot of people can deal with that kind of stuff. You seem to be handling it pretty well considering... Which is a good quality to have!

Marilyn said...

Goddamn mogi. I had to go the convenience store for a repellent refill at 4:30am two nights ago because of those fuckers. They're having a weird last fling this week, it seems like. At least I hope it's a last fling.

Do you know why there are so many schedule changes at your school? (Or all public schools?) I can't really imagine.

Tiffani said...

Haha I'm totally with you on the sleeping thing. Yesterday I had this girl hella misbehaving, and I punished her. She gave lip to my co-teacher, who nodded to her with sympathy and said to me plaintively, "But she has cramps!"

And I said, "I work when I have cramps!! I don't complain! And I sure as hell don't chatter and giggle with my friends when I'm feeling miserable. Tell her to suck it up."

Rarrrgh. I'm sorry about your coteacher too. :( Things will settle!