Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New co-teachers

My wife is lucky. She has been going through a slew of bizarre new co-teachers. I did not get any sensi-purse wielding crybabies, or giggling man-children. I did not get female versions of "Mr. Toad" or anything. All I got were three new co-teachers this year, two men and a woman. They all seem perfectly stable, and are all dreadfully normal and/or boring.

The female is a temporary teacher with the personality of a soggy loaf of bread. She sits in the back of the classroom and stares off into space until I call on her to translate something. And when I do, she looks shocked and confused, and may or may not spit out an accurate translation of what I say. We might share one or two words in between classes, about what subjects need to be covered, but mostly we just ignore each other.

The male teachers both speak excellent Englishee, one of them lived in Indiana for several years, has two or three doctorates, and taught at a University in Indiana. He is waiting for a job at one of the better Universities in the area and only took this job to make ends meet until then.

The other male has not lived abroad, but speaks really well, especially for someone who has lived in the sticks of Korea all his life. He has been teaching there for 13 years and came to our school because he wanted to teach in a bigger city, where the quality of the students would be higher. He is very disappointed, since my school is in an industrial area, and the students are poor we have one of the lowest ranking schools in the city.

My head teacher is even more disappointed in the bunch than I am. Not because of a lack of ability, but rather a surplus. She wanted the new Englishee teachers to work for her, and do her bidding, but since the dudes are incredibly over-qualified to teach they have both been made heads of other departments. So once again poor Mrs. Lee has only the temporary teacher to act as her slave, and temporary teachers don't have to show up until their first class starts and leave when the last one ends. She gets her at the most 6 hrs a day, so I am the only one left to do her dirty work. Unfortunately I just play dumb until she does whatever it is she wants me to do, until she does it herself.

Some people get all the luck.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bad students

During one of my third grade classes my co-teacher called on a pair of students to read a simple dialogue, in Englishee. The students stared at my co-teacher, then at their books. They looked at me and looked at their books. They looked at my co-teacher, and then looked at their books. My co-teacher told them to read the dialogue in Korean. The students stared at my co-teacher, then at their books. They looked at me and looked at their books. They looked at my co-teacher, and then looked at their books.

I told them what to say. My co-teacher told them what to say. The students around them, tried to help them, but still they looked totally confused, and stayed mute. I told them to sit down and practice, I would call on them again later. I was annoyed, the class seemed to prefer talking in Korean to practicing the dialogue, I was use to this by now, but for some reason decided to make an example out of this pair. I called on the other students to do the dialogue, and no matter how terribly they did it, I gave them candy.

We practiced another dialogue; I told the students that they would perform it. I told them exactly what to say. I gave them 5 minutes to work on it in pairs. I then called on them to read the dialogue.

The students stared at my co-teacher, then at their books. They looked at me and looked at their books. They looked at my co-teacher, and then looked at their books. My co-teacher told them to read the dialogue in Korean. The students stared at my co-teacher, then at their books. They looked at me and looked at their books. They looked at my co-teacher, and then looked at their books.

This time I was angly. “You are in Englishee Class!” I yelled. “When I tell you to practice a dialogue in English, you better practice the fucking dialogue!” I told the students to sit down and practice the dialogue, I that I would call on them each time until they got it right. They sat down, faces red with embarrassment.

I called on more students and gave them candy. I wrote the next dialogue on a white board, I yelled at the entire class to practice the dialogue. I called on the same pair of students, and they did the blank stare routine again. “How the hell are you not getting this?” I yelled. “I wrote it down, I told you exactly what to say! Its only two sentences!” I warned them that I would call on them every fucking class until they finally figured out how to practice the dialogue. I had my co-teacher translate into less angry Korean, so there would be no misunderstanding. Then I dismissed the class.

After the class both my co-teacher and I stood there shaking our heads. “What the hell is their problem?” I asked him. “Could I have made myself any clearer about practicing the fucking dialogue?”

“Oh don’t brame self.” He told me. “Out of the entire plovence they score da rowest. Our schoor getting special funding for da student. Da plincipar say don’t feel bad if dey no rean anything, dey retarded.”

“Why the hell did you wait until now to tell me that?” Because now I feel like a real asshole.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the loop

The day started out shitty, with the bus being late. I was 20 minutes late to work, but no one noticed. When I get to school, I first go to my office, in my classroom, which is on the ass end of the school. I am like a ninja in the shadows, slinking through unlit hallways silent as a ghost. Since no one sees me come in, and the VP and head teacher are busy in the morning, they don't actually know when I arrive. Sometimes they ask, if I go to the office to get some tea, and I just tell them "Oh I was in the classroom setting up for my next class."

Then I had my first couple of classes, which were normal, except that since we are having a test next tuesday (they told me yesterday) we needed to finish up the second chapter in our textbooks, with a section taking two weeks to complete, with only four days to do it for 8 classes, 4 of which I teach between now and the test.

The week previous I was ready to start on the second chapter, but the head teacher, and my co-teachers decided we needed another week to finish up the first chapter. They decided (last Friday, that I should teach the writing section that we had originally decided I should not teach). I rolled with it, and created lesson plans for it. They were going fine until Thursday.

On Thursday, they suddenly realized with the test only 4 days away, on the first two chapters, it might be prudent to start on the second chapter. So the last few classes, instead of taking lead, I have been taking a side seat. I was originally told that all they needed was the first five minutes of class, of course having no concept of time (otherwise they would have realized that covering two chapters in four weeks, might mean that you should cover every two weeks?) 30 minutes later I am left with maybe 15 minutes for me to breeze through my lesson plan which originally takes two 45 minute classes to complete.

Oddly, the last 2 classes I was scheduled to have (and I checked the schedule for changes) have not shown up. This usually means that they are combining classes, jamming over 50 kids into the tiny classrooms and gang-teaching the hell out of them. I am usually invited to participate in these teach-orgies as I am responsible for teaching certain chapters, and keeping track of individual class progress. However, I have not received a formal invitation, and have no Idea where on the six floors of the school the classes are being held, so I am not inclined to actually go out and find them.

What this means for me and my lesson plans....well, you never fucking know.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Too busy

I am a busy boy. I have not had much time these days to write, so suck it up. The geniuses at my school decided that I will give out stickers to all the kids who memorize a couple lines of Englishee every week.

“ Does Rabbit have long tail?”

“No, it has a short tail.”

“Do you know what Animal has a long nose?”

“Hmmm. I see, an Elephant has a long nose.”

That is this weeks phrase memorization disaster. I corrected the one in my classroom, but there are another 20 located throughout the school. I don't have the time or inclination to fix them all.

They will collect the stickers for prize of cash money. So now every break in between classes and during lunch I am inundated by a dozen by miniature sticker collectors.

After classes are over at 3:00, I use to have an hour and a half of free time. Now I have after school classes until 5:30. It will be nice to get the extra money, except that my co-teacher said I would not get it until the end of the term, which totally sucks.

I tried planning lessons, and give the students activities to do, but they showed zero interest in them so now I am writing while they watch “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Simpsons”. So in between breaking up fistfights, and confiscating cell phones I have a little time to write some shit.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This is brilliant.

This is fucked up.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I have nothing to really write about tonight, so I will talk about dinner.

As you all know, my wife cant cook. The woman could ruin a bowl of cold cereal. Seriously, she has.

I decided to make a dinner of beans and rice, and spicy mushrooms and onions.

Here is what it looked like when it was finished.

It was quite tasty. After dinner I made popcorn and we watched "Pirates of the Caribbean". I just recently figured out how to play a movie on my notebook, and output it to our huge flat screen TV the school provided. It sure as shit beats having all five of us huddle around a laptop, trying to watch anything.

We spent eight hours last week downloading the movie from the interweb, but when we played it, it was in Russian, with thai subtitles. Luckily I noticed that they had an Englishee copy at the foreign library. It is located in the foreign quarter by the subway station. They have a small selection of englishee language books and DVDs.