Sunday, January 16, 2011


So, I finished my winter camp on Saturday (how lame is that, I had to teach on a Saturday!  I know the Korean teachers have to teach every second Saturday, but, jeeze, I'm not supposed to have to!  Stupid winter camp, making me work six days in a row...), and what a glorious finish it was!  And, by glorious, I mean utterly freezing.

Saturday was sports day... or, "Mini Olympics" day, as the schedule called it.  Needless to say, we were never really given any information about it.  All I was told was to "think of something to do."

Gee... thanks, that's helpful.

So, I planned on teaching dodgeball (total cop out, I taught it for my sports lesson each week) and red rover.

The night before, I realized that we would be pulling three school together, and that the kids wouldn't know each other's names.  Hell, the kids in my own class didn't even know each other's names.  Crap.  I needed to think of a solution, fast.

Taping numbers to kids!

That's right, I wrote numbers on paper, and taped them to my kids.

I also made them run laps because they weren't listening, and because they were all too cool to hold hands for red rover.

Oddly enough, they all held hands to run the laps.  My co-teacher thought that the game was to run in a circle and hold hands and see if you can catch the other team, I had to explain to her that running the laps was punishment.

I finally taught them red rover, which took a long ass time to explain, because, why listen, when you can talk to the person beside you and ignore the teacher teaching you a game that you don't know?  Korean kids DON'T LISTEN.  I seriously do not remember EVER being like this with any of my teachers, when they explained, we listened.  I think it's because the kids here don't consider the foreign teacher to be a real teacher, they think they don't have to listen because the Korean teachers are the real teachers, the ones they take orders and instruction from.

This was illustrated earlier in the camp in one instance in particular that stands out in my mind.  I was teaching the fashion unit to my home school, and I had given the kids twenty minutes to draw and describe their own style, and then I wanted to switch to them playing "Guess Who" because it would allow them to practice their new vocabulary words and forming yes or no questions with the words.  I explained the game to the kids, got them into their pairs, and let them go at it.

Five minutes into the game, my co-teacher came overt to me, and told me that she thought we should have the kids present their drawings to the class.  So, I told her that, if we have time, I will give them some more time to finish their drawings, and then they could present them, but I wanted them to do the game first.

Next thing I know, she turns to the class and tells them--in Korean--that they're going to have to present their drawings in front of the class.  the kids all panic, because they're not finished, and they abandon the game, where they are actually practicing useful things, and scramble to open their books back to their drawings.

I was pissed!  She completely undermined me!  I was the camp teacher, she was just there to help out, but, because she's Korean, her word is god, and what she says, the kids immediately do.

Entirely annoyed, I had to get the kids' attention AGAIN, had to yell at the to put down their pencils, and had to force them to go back to the game.  I then had to assure them that they would have more time to finish their drawings before they had to present them, but, right now, they should be doing the game.

After three minutes of coaxing and assuring them that they would have more time to draw (which is total bullshit, they were learning more from the game than from drawing), they finally all paired up again, and started playing.  That is, until one of my students finished the round she was on, got up from her partner, and then ran back to her book to finish drawing.  I was so entirely not impressed.

I walked over to her and told her that she should be playing the game, not drawing.  She looked at me, looked at the co-teacher, and then went back to her drawing.  I told her THREE MORE TIMES.  Put your pencil down, stop drawing, go back to your partner, play the game.  She would look at me, say "okay, teacher," look at my co-teacher, and go back to her drawing.

I then resorted to slamming my hand on the bell on the desk, to get everyone's attention, and shouting that no one should be drawing, that everyone should be playing the game and practicing the sentence.  At which point the girl got all upset, because I called her out in front of the class.

Seriously, this is what happens when a Korean teacher undermines you in your own camp that you are running, you are the constant asshole.  It's bullshit.  The kids don' listen to you, because you're not Korean, and then, when you finally get them to do what you want them to do, the Korean co-teacher tells them to do something different.

That was my last three weeks.  Kids not listening, being undermined by Koreans, headaches, getting two colds and two stomach flus.

Oh, yeah, the plan was to go out and celebrate my freedom after my stupid Saturday class, but I woke up feeling like crap, and by the time I got home, I had the flu.  I tried sleeping it off, and taking a shower... nothing.  It was awful.  And, by Sunday, it had turned into a cold.  So, now I have a shitty cold.  After just getting over another cold.  After getting over another cold right before that.  Joy.

Things that are not helping my mood:

The landlord controls the heat in my building.  We have control over how hot we can turn it, but he has control over the hours it is on.  It is on from ten at night to six in the morning.  So, my apartment is a freezing cold ice cube for sixteen hours a day, because the ondol in my apartment is so weak, that it doesn't heat up my house in the eight hours it is on.

I have no hot water in my kitchen.  Because it's so cold outside, and my apartment is cold inside all day long, the hot water pipe has frozen.  Luckily, I still have hot water in the bathroom.

Also, this week, I learned that the descriptors and identifiers that my ex-boyfriend used to describe me to his internet slut that he cheated on me with for at least two years are "ugly," "fat," and "has bad skin."  Thanks, asshole.  I don't understand how people can be so atrociously, disgustingly, rude and hurtful... especially to someone who did everything to make them happy, and who did everything for them.

I officially have a month and a half until I go home, and I only have to teach for ten more of those days... and, by teach, I mean that I will have to sit at my desk for ten days and literally do nothing, because I won't be here next semester, so I have nothing to prepare.  It shall be quite boring, that much I know for sure!

Anyway, I am hungry now, so I am going to go find something to eat!

Toodles <3


  1. okay, the lack of heat thing is stressing me out for you. i wish i wasn't afraid of the post office, because i would send you a heated snuggie.

    also, those fresh kids and undermining teachers need an attitude adjustment.

    lastly- lame ex-boyfriends who talk smack about you are doing you a favor. it's like, oh, right, it's actually really, really REALLY good that i'm not with you anymore! thanks for the reminder, buddy!

  2. Listening is hard when it is a different language. Happens to me every day around the dinner table...
    Red rover, a violent game...I would not play it with my kids.

    It happens all the time with co-teaching. One person thinks they know better. I once had a co-teacher call off a field trip out from under me. I stewed about it, but didn't bring it up in front of the kids.
    How well do you think the "ok teacher" girl understood you?

    I'm sorry about the boyfriend shit. You better use the rest of that month to build some positive memories back with Korea. And quit bein so hard on yourself, Dodge ball isn't a cop out!

  3. Yeah, the heat comes and goes... if it goes below zero outside, it gets really hard for it to be warm in my apartment. The first thing Koreans tell you is that it doesn't get cold in Korea, which is false, but, this belief ultimately results in older buildings being poorly insulated, and the heating being sub par. They make heated snuggies now?! And, yes, he definitely reminded me why I'm better off without him.

    Listening is hard in another language, but it's just as hard to have to explain things in another language. As for the co-teacher undermining me, that's exactly what she did. She understood me when I told her that we would do it after the game, if we had time, she reiterated what I said to her back to me... and then went and told the kids that they would be expected to present the drawing to the class, which caused the panic. Red Rover isn't any more violent than most of the things they do in Korea, and, if you keep the kids closer together, they can't build up much speed. We played it all the time in phys ed class, and no one got hurt in the ten minutes we played it in mine. The girl who kept saying "ok teacher" understood me completely, she has a high level of English and is one of the girls who often explains everything to the kids who don't understand. She just chose to go with what the Korean teacher was saying instead of what the foreign teacher was saying, because that is what they know, what the Korean teacher says, goes. Yeah, the ex is an ass, was for three years, and will continue to be for the rest of his life, I'm sure of it. And, I have plenty of positive memories with Korea, I love Korea for the most part, but some things are just frustrating to deal with.

  4. All of that stress! Are you going to be happy to get home?

  5. Yeah, I'm excited to go home, for the most part... I will definitely miss Korea, though... I would like to return someday!


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