Thursday, July 29, 2010

End of Camp

Yesterday was the last day of Summer camp. At most schools the NETs will have fun activities for the kids to do, games to play, movies to watch, arts and crafts and other bullshit to waste time with the illusion of teaching. Not at my school.

The Principal and Vice Principal here at asshole middle school think that the best way for students to spend their summer vacation is rote memorization of pointless dialogues. They think students "Need rearn diaroges for implove Englishee."

Last winter I spent two weeks planning fun activities and games that focused on improving the students conversation and listing abilities. Those were scrapped the week before camps began and replaced with 3 hours a day of dialogue practice and memorization. Never mind that none of them can speak or write in more than a three word sentence, and 90% of the time those sentences either begin with "Teacher" or "I'm". So I am not sure how memorization of the dialogue for making a hotel reservation is going to help them if they lack the ability to understand what the hell they are memorizing.

When the head of the Englishee dept asked me for plans for summer camp, I saw it coming. So I created simple pointless dialogues for the kids to "memorize" for the benefit of the Principal and Vice Principal, since if either of them showed up, it would only be for the first 15 minutes of class anyway. Then we would do fun activites for the next two hours. But then the VP decided that my dialogues were too short, and demanded twice as much as I prepared.

They wanted me to cut the fun activities and spend the whole three hours with memorization, practice, and drilling of the dialogues, which are simple but completely useless for the students to memorize. Even though I tried to dumb them down as much as possible they still had trouble with them.

Here is one of my dialogues:

Mike: What do you want to do tomorrow?
Sumin: I don’t know. How about a movie?
Mike: Yeah, that sounds like it will be fun.
Sumin: What do you want to do before the movie?
Mike: We could go out to eat.
Sumin: Yeah we should go get some hamburgers.
Mike: Ok, then let’s do that.
Sumin: Yeah lets!

I asked the students questions about it.

Me: Are Sumin and Mike going to eat before or after they watch the movie?
Student1: Hamburger?
Me: no.
Student2: Mike?
Me: Are Sumin and Mike....Going to eat.... Before or After... They watch the movie?
Student3: Hamburger?
Me: no. When are they going to eat? Are they going to eat BEFORE the movie, or are they going to eat AFTER the movie?
Student4: Hamburger?
Me: If the answer was not Hamburger the first two times...
Student 5: Mike?

The dialogues were pointless and boring and the VP loved it. But I did not want to spend 3 hours a day on it, so for all my classes I had the students read it out loud one time then move on to the next one. That way we would still have time to do fun activities that they might actually learn something from.

I asked my the head of the English dept. how the hell this was suppose to help the students with their English when they did not understand the dialogues at all. She told me "Students not understand diarogue, just repeat it untir dey understand." I guess that is why when you tell a Korean that you do not speak Korean they keep talking to you in Korean, they all think if you repeat something enough times the other person will just magically figure it out. I can guarrentee you however, if I have no fucking clue what you said the first time, i will have no fucking clue the next three times you say it, so save your breath.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two down and one to go

I finished my second group of first grade camp today, and now I have just three days left until complete deskwarming. Not that I am not deskwarming now, its just that I am currently only deskwarming 4 hours a day, instead of eight. That is including lunch of course.

We were recently chatting with a friend of ours who is working at a hagwon in our area, and we were comparing our jobs.

Our friend makes 2.3 million won without a TEFL compared to our 2.2 million with, which initially makes her job seem like the better deal. Until you find out that she has 29 hours of actual classroom teaching compared to our 22(I actually only teach 20). That is not counting the overtime that I get for teaching after school classes of course.

She also only gets 5 days of vacation time during her entire contract compared to our 5 weeks, not including several weeks of deskwarming during winter break, spring break, summer break and the random days of no class, for no apparent reason. She pretty much teaches the entire time.

One advantage she gets though, is when she finishes her last class of the day, she is free to go home. She does not have to be a white head in office just for the sake of appearance. I know most of us in the public schools would kill to not have to spend an 8 hour day on facebook. Although my crops do need watering.

She also gets less sick days, and has to actually do lesson plans, which neither of us do at all anymore. My wife in elementary never had to do lesson plans, but I use to do lesson plans, which is to say that I made one lesson plan when I first started and made slight modifications to it weekly. Then I got tired of that and began turning the same thing in week after week, but by April even that was too much work. So it has been three months since i turned in a single lesson plan.

She replaced someone who worked this job for one and half years before realizing they were getting screwed and left the country. I am surprised that she took the job in the first place. People complain about jobs drying up here with increased competition due to a shitty American economy, but you can do a hell of a lot better than that. A friend of mine is looking for a job closer to Seoul right now and has recently turned down 3 or 4 jobs with public schools that are far better than what she has.

She is incredibly unhappy with her job. She is so unhappy that she is actually pulling a midnight run later on this week. So if anyone is looking for a ahitty job, with shitty hours, I know a place that is hiring!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Building the glorious republic of Korea

There has been a construction site next to my school building something enormous, but until recently they were still digging the ground. Now they have three giant tower cranes, a foundation poured, and several double decker Cargo containers that you see all over Korea that have been converted into housing or offices.

Along with the new tower cranes and offices they have installed a massive sound system that blares music all day long. Thankfully its not K-pop, but since its still Korean music, its not much better.

What they play sounds like propaganda music, praising a glorious leader, and industrious nation that is rivaled by none. I myself have begun saluting all my co-teachers of the superior race and doing that ridiculous hop-march thing down the hallways.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Team names

I just started on my second group for summer camp, and I let the kids pick out team names for each of their groups. My only rule was that they had to be in English. After about 20 minutes of deliberation, I got the following names:

1. Team Mitty - I asked what the hell a Mitty was, and they said "Mitty Mouse!"
2. Team Hospital - I guess they do go there every time they get a runny nose or whatever.
3. Team Dream - 50% of Korean stores and products are named either "Dream" or "Story" something.
4. Team S - completely unimaginative. I docked points from their team.
5. Team Devil - They are the worst students of course.
6. Team Wonder Woman - Better than Wonder girls I guess.
7. Team Dong man- They drew a steaming pile of poop next to the name, so I think they meant dung, but to me dong is funnier.
8. Team Gay Bar - My personal favorite, I have no idea why this group of boys decided on this name, but they are a little more "touchier" in class than usual...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Potty time

As a general rule, I use the teacher's restroom exclusively at my school. However sometimes I have to take a piss and I don't want to take a half mile hike to the one clean restroom in the school, so I hop down the steps and brave the one halfway decent men's restroom.

By halfway decent I mean only a little bit of shit smeared across the walls, and just a few puddles of urine around the toilet and doorway. Not painted brown speckled with bits of paper chewed gum and the floor covered with a lake of urine like the others.

I don't know how it is at other schools, but the kids at my school are fucking animals. They even groom each other in the classroom picking through each others hair, looking for ticks like the monkeys on animal planet or something.

They run screaming through the halls, wrestling and smashing shit. They litter like its going out of style, they pretty much tear anything and everything off the walls that is not securely bolted down. They break absolutely everything they touch, and they touch absolutely everything.

When they are not destroying things, they are constantly fighting with each other, wrestling, slapping, punching, kicking and pinching. If they are not busy beating each other, they are grooming or...beating each other.

They have all learned my classroom motto:

"No touching!"

Not even the nice kind.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Languagee barrier

My wife and I went to a tiny hardware store in our town to buy some duct tape. Of course the people in the store did not speak English, but since I did not see any of the silver miracle tool lying about I asked "Tape?" Keeping things simple seems to help communication.

She had no idea what I was talking about. My wife who has been diligently studying Korean, busted out her much greater lexicon of the local language. "Tape-oo?"

The woman in the store resorted to the typical Korean method of trying to talk to us in Korean until we some how become magically fluent in their stupid language. Then I noticed behind the counter a roll of green duct tape, to which I pointed to immediately cutting short whatever epic poem or rant on the stupidity of foreigners she was spouting.

Ah! she said, "Tape-uh"

Of course. Tape-uh. Obviously the Korean word for tape is completely indistinguishable from the English word tape. How could she possibly know what the fuck we were talking about when we said Tape-oo? That is completely phonically different from Tape-uh. How could we possibly expect her to make the gigantic leap from tape or tape-oo to tape-uh. Ridiculous!

This was not the first time something like that happened either. One time when we first got here, we were trying to find the bus that went to "Home plus". So I asked the driver "Home plus?" to which I received a blank stare. Know I knew he should know what home plus was. There is a gigantic fucking sign over the building and it is clearly visible from the subway. There is no way a bus driver would not know about it. I said it slower. I enunciated. Still nothing but confusion. Then another passenger, one somewhat familiar with the English language chimed in.

"Home prus-oo"

"Ahh! Home prus-oo Nehye!" It turns out he did indeed know Home Prus-oo, but never heard of anything like Home plus. Even though there is no "oo" at the end of the "Plus" on the sign.

Really. Really Korea? How could a race of people be unable to make such a simple leap from tape to tape-uh? From home plus to home prus-oo? If a Korean came to the USA and asked me "Bus-uh?" or "Bus-oo?" or "Bus-ee?" sure two blocks take a right. I would be able to make the connection. "Warmart-oo?" sure, its over there. Is it a lack of imagination, or just a game of annoy the foreigner? Or what?

Give me fucking break, you boners.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fat fool

I had a class recently where the assignment was to ask your partners what their height, weight, shoe size, and hair length was. To demonstrate for the class, I posted my stats:

Height:180 cm
Weight:84 kg.
Shoe size:300
hair length:0

Now I expected the 0 hair length to give the class a chuckle, and the 180cm non-loser height to get general approval from the class, I did not expect the reaction from my weight. When I got to Korea I was a svelte 91.6 kg according to my health exam. I had another exam in April and the result was 84 kg. Recently and I am now down to 81kg. or 178lbs for Americans. I have had students and teachers telling me that I was "too thin" and that "We like the fat Mr.Awesomecool better".

Students and teachers alike are constantly about my diet and how much weight I have lost. Especially when I put on my new "Skinny" jeans since my other pants are now officially "Clown Clothes" as they are about 6 inches too big at the waist.

However after I posted my weight, the class laughed at my huge weight. I asked what was so funny, and one girl said that her father was 180 cm too (I doubt it), but her dad only weighed 68 kg. I told her that he must be a stick.

Since then some female students have started writing my weight and height stats on the blackboard when I am not paying attention or out of the class room with the message "Mr. Awesomecool is fat" under it. I can not believe how much their attitude towards me has changed since I posted that number. Its not as if I suddenly put the 10 kg. I lost back on, but now that they have a number, in their eyes I am a titanic lard ass. I am starting to get a six pack for fucks sake!


February 2010

February 2010

June 2010
June 2010