So, within minutes of making a rather negative post over at Tumblr this morning after the day got off to a pretty shitty and frustrating start, I got my fucking attitude together. One thing I can say for the way my father raised me: his "suck it up and deal and I don't want to hear any whining while you're at it" method of parenting has served me well in policing myself generally in life and especially in this job. I'm pretty good at having the same conversation with myself, almost automatically.And I had a pretty good day. Which included a really awkward car ride with the two maintenance ajeosshi from my school, who proceeded to blowdry my pipes and fiddle with various other fixtures until the water came back. Then, back to school. The chocolate truffles I made last night were a huge hit with the other teachers, and I got to spend lunch time explaining in a horrific mash of broken English and Korean how to make them to the entire table. I might suggest a lesson in the science lab sometime, if they really want to see how I did it. It's dead easy, and the teachers love to learn little things like that. Last semester, we learned how to make soap, and some of the teachers did dance classes in the gym.
Next up, business trip, where the presenters didn't feel the need to ego-trip in the slightest, and made quick, succinct presentations of useful (if already mostly known to some of us) information. They did a really excellent job, actually, and I'm happy to say I'll be using some of what they suggested.
Got to catch up with a friend at a neighboring school for a bit, which is always nice, and got a good look at all the new teachers in the district. What a shockingly normal group of waegs. The recession in the West seems to be bringing out the best in foreign ESL teachers, these days.
On the walk home, I ran into some of my new little first grade trouble makers outside the Familymart eating ramyeon with girls, a favorite activity of up-and-coming jjang crews. Among them were: one student who is always super respectful and is a bit of a replacement Minwoo, in that he will sit right up front for my classes, and scares the fuck out of the other students if they so much as breathe the wrong way during my class time; one mischevious trouble maker who I generally like, but who I sometimes have to get harsh with; the little pervert who tried to kiss me a couple of months ago. Small, medium and large. Coming out of the shop, I was greeted with the pervert's horrible little face staring me down from the other side of the glass. The ajeosshi behind the counter started to come around to handle whatever situation was making me make that face, when he realized it was just one of my students.
This student always tries to grab me. He thinks it's great fun. And someday very soon, he and I are going to have a very fun little trip to the haksaengbu. I've been itching to make it happen for a while now. But for now, whenever I encounter him, I usually just press a forefinger to his forehead and mock the fact that he's so tiny that this is a perfectly valid method of keeping him at bay. Usually, I've got him well in hand, and the other mischevious student just looks on and laughs. But something about the way the pervert called his friend (a student from another school) over to watch tonight rubbed him the wrong way. I wasn't exactly thrilled with it either. But before I had the chance to react, the mischevious student shouted at him to cut it out and grabbed him by the collar, yanking him around to the other side quite harshly. He bowed and politely told me goodbye.
He wasn't doing it for show. Something legitimately pissed him off about it. Which is a side of his character I haven't seen yet. I went on my way tonight without saying anything about it, but I'll definitely see his shenanigans in a different light during classtime from now on. You probably shouldn't make allowances for students' behavior during classtime based on things like this, but I think the relationship just changes. It was nice to have one go in that direction tonight, as a few others (with the monstorous second graders) have been going the other way the past few months -- students I was quite close to when they were first graders have been pushing the limits during classtime, and I've had to come down quite hard on them. They haven't been as eager to greet me outside of school since. But they'll be third graders soon, and past the 'terrible twos', and things should set themselves right again.
Another year. More little babies running around being shocked at the sight of my face soon. I can't believe how fast time is moving these days.