Housewifery and the tenderness of students.

If I never look a chocolate chip cookie in the eyeball again, it'll be too soon. Word somehow spread around about what we were doing in class today, and random kids were coming out of the woodwork. I must have baked -- I shit you not -- at least 12 batches of 9 cookies each in my tiny little oven, including two batches for the teachers in the office downstairs, who found out about the whole operation via two little traitors I sent down to nuke the butter in the microwave who don't know how to zip a lip.

They fell on the first batch like a pack of wild animals, literally ripping chunks from the foil as if they hadn't seen food for days. After that, the novelty of that approach seemed to wear off and they decided they could actually wait the five additional minutes it would take for them to cool down and solidify. That, plus I had started wielding a broom handle at that point.

It was about halfway through the second session (which wasn't really a second session, as the second shift kids showed up early, and the first shift stayed late), with the boys sitting around playing their card games and watching the English movie I'd put on to keep them busy while the cookies were baking, as I was sweeping the classroom floors, wiping down desks and keeping one ear open for any nitpicky little fights that might be springing up amongst the boys, that I realized this must be what a housewife feels like. That shit is not easy, let me tell you. I was only at for about five hours and I'm fucking exhausted.

Afterward, I went down and had lunch with the other teachers and sat around catching up and shooting the shit for a bit. It's easy for me to get a bit isolated during vacation periods, because during the week the only people I really interact with face-to-face for any real duration of time are fifteen year old boys. Which is great. But maybe not all the time. I did go out with Smalltown and some of the Bupyeong crew last night, but it's not the same as having time with the other teachers at work throughout the week. It still depresses me how far behind my student Korean my adult Korean is. During camps, it's easy for me to convince myself I'm practically King Sejong for my comprehension and speaking skills. And then I'm around normal adult Korean conversation again, and it puts me right back in my place. But it is still getting better, despite literally the minimal amount of effort on my part.

There was an old-school moment of foreign idiocy during class today the likes of which I haven't suffered for a while now. It was really mostly due to the fact that I wasn't paying attention when I was doing the shopping yesterday, but some of the eggs I brought in for the recipe today were actually boiled. The students took one look at them and I heard them shift to their "Liz Teacher can understand what we're saying if she's paying attention but if we can be really subtle about it and she's distracted, she might miss it" tones of voice. Trying to figure out how to tell me my mistake without embarrassing me. Sweet boys. I just interrupted them and told them that it was alright, that there were some eggs left from last week's class in the office fridge, and to go and fetch them. Sometimes when they get too used to me, they can forget that I'm a foreigner and that I still have trouble with some things. It's humbling to see how tenderly they can treat my child-like-in-Korea moments. They spent the rest of the class carefully repeating any words I couldn't catch in Korean so that I could hear them clearly and explaining what they meant, gently and without condescension. Good, good boys. Warm heart and all of that.

And so it's finished for another year. And it's time for me to get a little rest, before a seriously busy weekend begins.

1 comment:

Roboseyo said...

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