Today, in a very big nutshell.

Cock and balls. Blogspot has gone and changed its entire format. I hate when websites do that. I know it's essential and all, but the computer part of my brain is approximately 85 years old and it takes me forever to adjust. I end up doing things like calling my friends on the phone to ask them how to forward emails in Gmail. No shit.

The real point is, I'm sitting here at my desk twenty minutes before quitting time, and I'm absolutely raring to go. It's been a long week, my friends, the highlight of which being the world's fastest speech delivered to a room full of bored people who should've finished work 45 minutes previous yesterday afternoon. I didn't want to be the dick who takes the full time slot, when everyone just really wants to go. It would have been different with Korean teachers, but foreign teachers don't take kindly to what they like to call "free overtime work". I know.

The best part was when the district supervisor stood up and said that she heard that I had great "control" over the students, and that she thought the best way to control students was to "love" them. I certainly do love them, but I would say discipline is a form of love, and not the other way around.

In other words, sometimes I don't seem very "lovely" when I'm "controlling" the students. I don't think I'd have a great amount of control if I always did.

Today was one of those roll-with-it days, which started off with me walking into my first class (a low level second grade class) to find the computer broken. Which usually doesn't tick me off much these days, but it was an awfully difficult lesson I was meant to be teaching -- miles above their level, with no real way to simplify. No way out but through.

It's also the one class where the teacher has the students sitting in straight lines with the desks all pulled apart because they lose their shit and can't control themselves if they are within two feet of each other. So. You know.

But what are you going to do? Pitch a fit and refuse to teach?

I reluctantly started writing the questions we were meant to be learning on the board -- six questions about their goals. They don't even know what "goal" means. But after a bit of explanation, they grasped the concept -- something you want in the future, like a dream, but more active. Finally I hear it called out from somewhere near the middle: 목표!

Yep. So I ask for a volunteer to share his goal. The first to speak up is Seongsu, who I have one of those up and down relationships with. If I can keep him in hand, he can be a real leader for his class. If he's just not in the right mood, though, we can lock horns pretty quickly. He shouted out that his goal was to hit Jungu.

I looked around at the room full of faces that were already starting to twitch with lack of visual stimulation, and the way that this answer had perked them up and got them all back focused on the front of the room.

Right. My goal is to hit Jungu. Now. Let's write on the board and answer some questions.

It was the best version of that lesson I've taught to that level so far. The boys usually really struggle to grasp the concepts, but suddenly when violence is involved, we're making some serious connections.

The next class started rough because I nearly had a temper tantrum when the co-teacher (who has no control over the students whatsoever) decided that I should be teaching a lesson other than the one I had planned to teach. To be clear, we've missed this class two weeks in a row now, so I just prepared one of the two missed lessons to teach. She, for whatever reason, decided to tell me as I was walking into the classroom at the bell, that she thought I should teach the other. Even after I explained that I hadn't taught either lesson, so it really didn't matter, she still stood there wasting class time explaining to me that I should teach the other. I finally got so irritated with this ridiculous display in front of the students over fucking nothing that I decided I'd rather be in my office by myself printing off and cutting up the cards for that activity and reloading the PPTs onto my USB than still looking at her face.

I was pretty pissy by the time I got back, and a bit too rough with the students about not talking as a result, but I got it back together after about five minutes. It was a good class, regardless.

And to top it all off, I was in the middle of my last class of the day, when the most unexpected faces peered in through the classroom window and smiled at me. The Jjang Crew from last year came back for a visit after their exams. After they had come and gone, the other group of students who come back to see me every now and then stopped by as well. I took them down to visit another old teacher or theirs, and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.

And now? Now I'm going home. To do whatever I want, that doesn't involve speaking in front of (or controlling) anyone.


matt said...


I wasn't happy with the new blogger interface either - BUT - if you type in the URL of the old interface, it still works and you can still use it.

http://www.blogger.com/posts.g?blogID= ["=" is followed by a string of numbers which designates your blog - just cut and paste them in from the url of the new interface]

(For reference, the new interface url looks like this:
http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID= )

If you follow any links on your blog to use blogger (ie. 'edit post'), you'll end up with the new interface, but if you type in the old url above, you can still use the old one....

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