You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Week one of the new semester is all but finished.

I met with the 6th grade English teacher and discussed our first lessons together. Monday...could be...a rough day. I'm not sure if she can manage a classroom effectively. Luckily, she has me to hold her hand for the first week. Lesson one is simple enough and I've got some usable materials from last year and a few new ideas. As far as I can tell, she's introducing herself to the class this week and starts teaching next week. Fingers crossed.

Onto the "I can't believe the balls on some people" category, we get this. Yes, the won isn't doing very well right now, but this really comes off as petty and childish.

I found these last night. I wish I could find the complete documentary. According to Wikipedia, these guys actually won.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Well, the new school year is upon us.

We got off to an auspicious start on Monday. We had a schoolwide assembly in front of the school to introduce the new teachers and vice principal. They introduced all the subject teachers...except me. To be fair, the principal told me I didn't have to watch the assembly, but I stuck around as a show of solidarity. So, he probably didn't have my name written down.

We've changed rooms again. This time moving back to the smaller room that we occupied when I first came here.

There are only 4 of us in the office now. Myself, the 5th and 6th grade English teachers and a new 6th grade English teacher. So far, we've only spoken Korean in the office and I'm getting along better with these people than I did before. It's only been 2 days, but if this keeps up, I might have to stay for another year. No decisions have been made and I'm keeping an open mind about my future here. I know I want to stay with Su-jin. I really like the public school schedule and I find the working environment to be acceptable. We'll see what happens when I actually have to start teaching with my new coworkers.

Speaking of which, she's a tiny woman. I think Su-jin has an inch or two on her. She hasn't really tried English with me yet, but I get the impression that she's competent...or smart enough to stay out of my way if she's not. We have a meeting tomorrow to discuss our class for next week. Fingers and toes crossed.

The new vice principal is a woman who speaks 0 English. It's better than the fat idiot that screams "Matthew! Charming!" at me. She seems pleasant enough, but I'll miss Mr. Lee.

Daegu is freezing right now. I also have a computer and internet in my apartment. I'm going to attempt to logon to xbox live tonight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last night was our end of the year party.

It started at 5pm sharp with speeches. Most were fairly dull, but the retiring vice principal put the room to sleep. His voice was monotone and fast and his speech was very, very long. He had a lot to say. I swear the other vice principal and principal were sleeping. I know I saw closed eyes. After he finished talking, we were allowed to hit the buffet. The pickings were weaker this year. The "steak" we were served was dreadful. It was hamburger meat pounded flat, overcooked and allowed to sit and cool for about 2 hours. I made it about 3 bites in before I surrendered and hit the buffet.

Then, the drinking and singing started. Thankfully, I wasn't forced to sing OR dance this year. I met the new 6th grade teacher that we hired for next year. He hated me instantly. I could just tell. I asked him his name and he spat it at me. This continues to confirm my theory that Korean dudes between 23 and 29 years old are assbags.

I didn't meet the new English teacher. I know her name though. I know exactly how the meeting is going to go. I'm dreading it. She's going to be amazed that I'm capable of doing even the most simple tasks and I am going to resist the urge to punch her in the face for her subtle racism. I can't wait.

I drank with everyone. The retiring VP stopped by more than once to raise a glass. Good times were had by all. After the party, I was invited out with my now former coworkers. Before hitting the bars, I apologized to the woman that screamed at me for giving her a dirty look for screaming. These were the first words we've spoken to each other in almost 5 months. She accepted. Whatever. I'm a decent human being and the look of surprise on her face was priceless.

We hit the bar and proceeded to destroy what felt like 50 pitchers in 3 hours. The two 20-something Korean dudes that tagged along acted like assbags. The 40-something Korean dude that tagged along was great fun. I made it home around 1 am. I called my buddy Patrick in Seoul. If I was this drunk, someone had to know about it. A good time was had by all.

I woke up at 7am with a sour stomach and a small headache. I made some tea and watched the first 30 minutes of The Karate Kid before passing out again. I woke up again at 12 and got some Mickey D's and took a shower. I felt like a human being again.

I've got 5 more months at this school before I have to decide what to do. I know I'm going to stay in Daegu, but I'm not sure where to teach. If this year goes well and the assbags lighten up, I might stay. If not, it's either moving up to middle school, taking an office job with the DMOE or get a job at a hagwon for adults and make some real cash. Decisions, decisions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. They were at it again last week.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The latest hit from the guys who brought us this.

Not much to report this week. Although there is a naming contest for Korea's first rocket. 3 million won, eh? Let's see here. I'll just try to tie it in with the marketing plan for Korea. Just call it the "Dynamic Sparkling Hi! Rocket."

Also, Korea had its annual(?) hamburger festival in Gangwon last weekend. I wonder how many kilos of shrimp, kimchi, chocolate and whatever else they decided to use that doesn't belong on a hamburger was used.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yesterday was graduation day for our 6th grade students. Graduation was held outside. Outside was terribly cold and windy. If graduation took more than 30 minutes, I would have ran inside. I remember it being chilly last year, but I don't remember being as cold as I was yesterday. I brought my camera with me to take a few pictures, but I was too uncomfortable to walk around snapping pictures.

I was informed today that the 6th grade English teacher will be leaving. I hate to say this, but good riddance. She was very professional, but her attitude and communication skills absolutely sucked. It was obvious that she didn't like most of our students and the kids picked up on it. I don't know what went on when I wasn't there, but I'm guessing there was a whole lot of silence. She wouldn't give detailed instructions or talk at a pace our kids could comprehend.

She would go over the monthly schedule with me, but she'd leave out the important bits. For example, she'd spend 5 minutes telling me about the event the 5th grade was having to spread awareness about internet addiction, but give only bare bones details on our teacher field trips. The Pohang Fiasco will always stand out in my mind. Her ability to be completely insensitive to the feelings and concerns of others, while at the same time being completely stunned that others were insensitive towards her feelings was absolutely appalling. I'll never forget the chilly response I got after she felt I yelled at her. I overslept for work. She called me. I said, "I'm on my way." She said, "You're running away?" I may or may not have raised my voice. "No, I'M ON MY WAY." It's not my fault she can't listen. Either way, she was upset for a week and it was left up to me to guess why.

I can't wait to erase her from my phone. It won't be a teary eyed, Gork affair. "Good-bye, Jason." (deletes Jason from his phone)(sobs uncontrollably for 10 minutes). "Good-bye Matt"(snif)(deletes Matt's number) "Good-bye, Brad"(blubbers for 6 minutes) (deletes Brad's number from his phone).

I spent the weekend in traction because I pulled a muscle in my back/shoulder/neck area on Saturday morning. I couldn't turn my freakin' head for 2 days.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Week one of the English camp at my school is in the books.

There was really only one incident worth reporting. A boy told me to shut up. If he weren't the most instantly rude student I've ever had, I might have let him continue, but he is the most instantly rude student I've ever had. This was made worse by an error. Last year, I had a 2nd grade student that spoke fluent English. His name was Beom-joon. This time, I saw Joon-beom on my list for 3rd grade students. I thought he was the same kid. We called his mom and asked if he wanted to change classes. She said he had attended a hagwon for a year and would in fact like to change classes. This raised a red flag. Beom-joon was taught by his mom. He never went to an academy. We talked to the boy. After the talk, it was decided that he would stay in the same, lower level class. If he behaves at the hagwon the same way he behaved in my class, his mom should get her money back. He walks in grumpy. Spits out a "hi," and sits down. He puts his head down and it stays there for the entire class, unless he wants to be disruptive. Then he picks his head up and punches the nearest kid. If asked a question, he'll respond with a brusque, "no." He came into class on Tuesday and followed this routine. I asked, in Korean, if he wanted a pillow. He told me to shut up. He was asked to repeat that. "No." He was asked to leave the classroom. "No." He was escorted out of the classroom and told not to come back. My world is that much brighter. This kid is only a 3rd grader and is already an uberdouche.

If I were a Korean teacher, there might have been a beatin'. I'm not a Korean teacher and I have to be tough without beatin's. If I'm not, the class suffers. I feel a responsibility to deliver the best class I can. If that means asking a student not to come back, so be it. It's the only punishment that works.

It was also my favorite student's birthday last week. I gave him one of the few American comics I have in Daegu. It was Superman/Batman #29. It was bagged and boarded. He was upset that it was in English. You're welcome.

In one week the lone wolf flies alone. That's right. I'll be back in good ole Thrillinois for 2 solid weeks, including the Super Bowl. I can't wait.

For those of us into architecture, here are the plans for Ansan.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A few shots from Christmas at Su-jin's apartment.

We celebrated our 2nd anniversary this week. We met for coffee, had dinner at TGIFridays and ended the evening with a sticker picture. We didn't really exchange gifts, but we did buy cards for each other. I arranged to meet Su-jin at 5pm at a coffee shop near a stationary store. I wanted to buy the card, fill it out and then meet her, but she was early. She got to watch me fill out the card. It ruined the surprise, but she was happy to get it. I'm a guy. I hate wrapping presents and giving cards. It seems silly to me, but I knew it would make her happy. Riveting stuff, I know.

Well, one English camp is in the books.

We had another incident on Thursday. One of the students dicked with my computer while I was eating lunch. Due to their dicking with my computer, I was unable to use YouTube in the afternoon. This made my lessons waaaaaaay more difficult. I was using Mr. Bean videos for directions. In a few of his skits, he would drive. I used this to help teach "turn left," turn right," and "go straight." Also, I was teaching "The Wheels on the Bus." It was part of the lesson I was given. I don't know why. Either way, I didn't have music to go with the song. I did my best, but it was a super pain in the ass to teach 2nd and 3rd graders without music.

They brought in the school's computer "specialist" to fix the problem. She played with my computer for an hour before giving up. Then, the Korean teacher attempted to find a suitable replacement. She was unable to locate one and she took FOREVER to stop looking. Either way, the afternoon class on Thursday was a dud.

Friday was great. I had three classes in the morning, followed by lunch. After lunch, the students wrote letters while the foreign teachers rested. Then, everyone met in the library for the closing ceremony. After the closing ceremony, we had an after party. The vice principal drinks like a fucking fish. I sat behind him and he drank with me at least 5 times. Needless to say, I was more than a little tipsy by 4:30. The party ended at 6 and I met Kyung-su after. It was...a long day.