You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy New Year!

I'm at English camp in Seojae this week. Seojae is a 15 minute bus ride west of my neighborhood. I'm working with 6 other foreign teachers. I've met a few of these people before.

I worked with Marthan and Kelly last summer at my school's English camp. Both of them are solid, solid guys. Paige lives in the same area as I do and we've met once before at a group outing. The other 3 were unknown. One is a British girl who is living with her Korean/Japanese boyfriend and his parents. The other are two western girls. One is a Canadien(boo) with a nose ring and the other is a large Iowan. The Iowan is the only objectionable one of the bunch.

As I write this, we're over halfway done with camp. The schedule is a wreck. The guy in charge scheduled 150 minute classes, but we get 20 minute breaks in between 50 minute periods. The same kids...for 150 minutes. Things get a little slow by the end.

I've been assigned a coteacher, but she's a coteacher in name only. I run the class and she will leave for large parts of the day. We'll be in the middle of an activity and she'll leave for 10 minutes to take a phone call. She can speak reasonably good English, but she's fairly ineffective in class. Most of the Korean teachers I've worked with are fairly loud in Korean and only get quiet when they speak English. She is painfully quiet in both. It's surprising.

The school has three building, one and a half of which are under construction. When I say construction, I mean, they are being gutted. Two of the meathead construction workers were using jackhammers directly across from my room. The kids couldn't hear me. I couldn't hear the kids. I gave the Korean staff 3 choices. 1. Ask the guys to stop. 2. Change the rooms. 3. I will stop them. I had it all worked out in my head. I would walk up behind them, unplug the jackhammers, steal the extension cords and run back to my classroom. I wound up switching classrooms. Sigh.

There has only been one incident worth mentioning so far. My lessons involve directions(i.e. turn left, turn right, go straight). The students have a small map with various locations on it. I instruct them, in Korean, how to use their finger and follow my instructions. Before we started, one girl chose to proudly display her middle finger to me and the class while saying, "Like this!!!" Big laugh. Angry Matt. She was rudely asked to leave the room and not come back. The only reason I did this was because the coteacher needed to take another phone call. If the coteacher were in the room, I probably would have let her deal with it. The coteacher caught up with the girl wandering the hallway during my class. She found me and told me, "I'm sorry, but she did not know meaning." Bullshit. I can't believe she expected me to believe that. The girl knew. I know she knew. Most likely, the "coteacher" knew that she knew. This incident occurred on Tuesday. The student has not returned to English Camp. I don't feel bad about There has also been an incident with the Canadien(boo!) girl losing her nose ring in class and a fire extinguisher was discharged, probably on purpose.

Today was a lot of fun. I had the 5th and 6th grade classes for most of the day. Some of the kids are really smart and really into the lessons I'm doing. Don't ask me why. After class, we went bowling with the Korean staff. I stunk up the alley. I couldn't crack 100 in two games while the guy from South Africa rolled a 150. Ridiculous. After bowling, we went to Pizza Hut. I wanted to sit with the Korean staff, so I could practice. After one hour at Pizza Hut, they were convinced I spoke excellent Korean. I still don't.

So far, this has been a palatable English camp. Next week, I have to go to my school for a 10-day, 4 class per day battle with no help. I do get a classroom this year. So, I can at least use a computer.


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