I'm officially skipping my first Korean class, thanks to this complete and utter BULLSHIT weather. The wind is picking up the rain, which has yet to cease for even a moment all day, and blowing it directly sideways, so that I had to use my umbrella as a shield for the first half of the walk home from work, until it broke in about five different ways. Serves me right for buying the chil cheon won model, I suppose.
Ugh. Is Jangma almost over yet? Nothing dries -- not your hair, not your clothes... even your very body seems to be saturated by an ever-present cloud of sticky, hot disgustingness. If this is still going on in the morning, I'm taking the boys' lead on this one and walking to school with my pants rolled up to my knees, wearing nothing but a pair of flip flops on my feet. To do otherwise seems almost insane.
An extra special thank you to the adjumma who were standing outside the school gate this morning handing out shockingly sturdy cardboard and plastic fans for no apparent reason, approximately eighteen of which I confiscated today, due to the overwhelming simplicity involved in converting them into extremely effective face-slapping devices, using intent alone.
Today was my last, last after school class. We finished about seven minutes early, and I wasn't into trying to make them do anything else, one day before summer vacation, during their last seven class, so we just chatted for a bit. Amazing how hard it is to get them to do that when we're supposed to be having "conversational" classes. Yet, when they feel they're getting away with something....
"Teacher today last seven class?"
"Yes. Today is the last seven class."
"Haha. Yeah, right...."
'Yeah, right' has become a favorite English expression among my boys, since they've sussed its meaning from hearing me utter it so often, right along side a highly sarcastic, 'great', which makes them giggle every time.
"No, Teacher! Oh, no!"
"Why 'oh, no'? Everyone hates seven class...."
"No. This class is very happy. Very enjoy."
Smart asses. I have been making up with a lot of the second grade students, lately though, after the troubles we've had with each other getting through their book this semester. Last year, with co-teachers who translated everything and acted as the sole disciplinarians, we had a much better relationship. But this year, with co-teachers who stand in the back of the room and say nothing (if present at all), they've really taken a hard grudge against me for having to take the reigns of discipline in my own two feeble hands. Recently, though, even the boys from the nightmare class have let a lot of that go. Part of it is because during the games/movies of recent weeks (requested by co-teachers, who were falling behind me in the book), I've had time to reconnect with them, walking around and chatting, instead of just standing in front of the room teaching.
And part of it is because the last two weeks I've had them moved to the EOZ, where they see me interacting with the third graders. The amount of respect given to a class even one year above here is something I don't think most Western minds could comprehend without witnessing it firsthand. But, the last two weeks, grade two has seen the third graders coming in to chat for no reason, bowing and greeting me in Korean. They've seen me calling them by name and making small jokes with them using my broken Korean.
Whenever a third grader walks into a classroom full of second graders, the result is almost total silence, mixed with a bit of awkward squirming. To see those third graders then show the kind of respect to me, as a teacher, that the second graders don't even show their homeroom teachers anymore, was nothing short of shocking for them. It has definitely changed their attitudes. And it gives me some hope that next year, as third graders, they won't completely steamroll me.
Now I'm off to study a bit of Korean out of sheer guilt. Although, it's hard to feel bad when I can't even see out my kitchen window for the sheets of rain being thrown at. It's a good day for reading a little Murakami and getting to bed early.
This weekend may see a little out of town day trip with Small Town. I'm still a bit undecided, as it's the weekend before I launch head on into summer camps, which will consist (in the first week) of three and a half student hours in the mornings, two hours with the parents in the afternoons. The best part? I've been informed that my student camp will be made up of two third graders, two second graders and eight -- count them, eight -- delightfully unacquainted little first graders. Someone tell me how to successfully work on all those levels at once, and I'll probably marry you.
I also need new clothes again. This rain had better stop before Friday.