Today I added to my arsenal of teacher's secret weapons, when I discovered that calling on students who are talking while I'm writing on the board and trying to explain something to stand and read what I've just written on the board horrifies absolutely everyone in the classroom, including the coteacher. In this particular case, it was my least favorite coteacher, Fake Coteacher aka Mr. Kim. Even though he had hit four students rather hard in the head with his stick for coming in late, he was so uncomfortable when the offending parties stuttered in front of the entire room, that he tried to feed them the pronunciation, whilst I just stood and stared at them. "You don't know how to say this?" I asked, after both were unsuccessful. "Then you should probably listen, don't you think?" I didn't have to shout, "Hey!" or "Quiet!" one more single time during the entire period.
Also, the four boys who got whacked on the head got a rather conspicuous little head rub from me when I walked over to give them their worksheets right in front of Fake Coteacher. I don't care if he is the oldest teacher and male -- I don't like the hitting. Especially since they seemed to be rather quiet, well-behaved boys. And they were smaller as well. I found out one of them can't read the Roman alphabet, and had his friend explain to him that I'm currently trying to learn Korean and it's very hard for me, that he should keep trying -- he'll get it eventually.
The downside of the boys getting more comfortable is that I find I'm not as efficient in making the rounds during exercises now. They start off-topic conversations, which I don't feel too bad about, since they are still speaking English, which is what we are there for after all. But my last few classes have lagged a little behind. The tattoo on my forearm is still their favorite topic. I'm also starting to understand some of what they say to me in Korean, which pleases them no end.
I've made a conscious effort this week to walk around and talk to the boys before class starts as they are coming in and while we are waiting for the coteacher to show up. There are still a few who just turn bright red and put their heads down when I walk over, but they are decidedly the minority now, rather than the majority.
The one thing I really miss from New York is being able to spend a lot of one-on-one time explaining things. I know there are a lot of students who are slipping through my fingers, and that bothers me, but there's little you can do about it in a class of forty.
Anyway, I really like my job. And since it's the center of my world at the moment, this is a very good thing. If I was just working in an office somewhere, I think I'd probably be pretty miserable right now. The students have really made all the difference so far.