The problem with drinking soju


…is that’s the only time people teach you Korean, only you’re too busy drinking to take notes.

Let’s see what I can remember from the new teacher dinner and second round last night:

  • Yogi-oh – means come here
  • mashtah – means good

oh man, I forgot how to ask, “can I have one please.”

I already knew how to say excuse me – shillay hamnida (romanization for this sucks – it looks like silly but they leave out the “h” sound…)

We had mackeral stewed with yucca (cassava – I don’t know what they call it here, but that’s what it was) and kimchee last night.  I think I’m going to make some of this myself.  They added some sugar to it so the kimchee did not taste fermented and chili-like, but not enough sugar to make it sweet either.  It’s analogous to some spaghetti sauce recipes where some people might put in a teaspoon of sugar to cut the tomato acid.

So this was a morale-building event to welcome all the new teachers that we’ve known about all week.  Only the word is the new teachers were all taken aside earlier in the day and told not to attend the second drinking round.  Somehow, administration always finds out who is drinking or smoking, and the implicit threat is that those teachers will not make tenure.  Morale be giveth and taketh away.  Because teacher jobs are so in demand, you can bet none of the new teachers were drinking with us.

Next week about thirty student teachers will be joining the school for one month.  That’s all they get is one month prior to graduating with their teaching degree.  In Kyung had already heard that student teaching lasts a full year in the states, but she was surprised when I told her U.S. teachers must continue to pursue their master’s degree and that even after that, continuing education was required.

Earlier conversations with her were very fruitful about the co-teacher disparity and I might be able to negotiate some sort of grade for my class next semester, and a re-structuring of the situation for the following year.  So it’s good me talking to as many sympathetic English teachers as possible and hopefully they can help me convince the Vice Principal.  That, and the little graphs I have made and thopefully the way I present it.   If we could get some grades and motivation going in class, then I would have no problem staying here another year.  Even though I find this portion of Anyang sterile, having a school structure where I can actually teach would be worth it.

Speaking of – the OTHER station in Anyang turns out to be very human scale, lively, and interesting.  Much like Hongdae but I imagine without quite so much rowdiness at night.  In fact, I have NOTHING PLANNED for this weekend, so I’m going to leave the house now and wander around there.  Maybe I can find a market and buy some yucca and mackeral.

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