Where’s my stripes?


I finally found a reception desk call bell.

When I whipped it out in class, all the boys applauded…a minute later they were back to their same old shit.  But it is much nicer than the beelzebub sound I must call up in order to restore order normally.

Upon the dismal failure of the bell, I have finally broken down and purchased a professional referee whistle.  It’s ear-shattering. I’m going to use it so much that the mere sight of it strikes fear in their hearts.

Mr. Lee was back to his arrogant self upon the return of the symester.  Upon encountering a whole row of boys defiantly totally ignoring participating, I asked him what was going on with these boys (as a way to not say, “fucker – why aren’t you helping me manage this class?)  His response was to massage the nearest boy and tell me the class was not interesting enough.  “They need to watch movies.  These are Korean students and they need Korean teaching methods.”  I asked him why the hell did they hire me then?  He just laughs and continues to massage the boys arm.  Moves on and massages another boy’s neck.  I pursue him and the argument, telling him I was hired to teach English immersion with western teaching methods and he goes on telling me how it’s not interesting.  I stand there arguing with him so long that the nearest defiant boy finally says, “shi bal” (fuck) and starts doing his assignment.

That Friday, I get to one class and find Ms. Baek is substituting for Mr. Lee.  Class 1-1 is actually partially participating.  Ms. Baek is stressed out by the boys.  I tell her “they’re being very good this lesson.”  Her eyes are very big and she asks me how I can stand it…

I do like the boys personally.  Some have that sort of James Dean cool about them.  And others are just really really sweet.  One really awkward boy came to my desk yesterday and asked me to proofread an entry in his personal journal, where he’d written a song.  Some are real hams and I’ve found that if they can talk about girls, suddenly their English gets much better.  Last week, on two separate occasions, I had a boy break down in tears simply because he had to speak out loud…shit.  They need to just let English be an elective.  This boy isn’t going to be a CEO of any company.  Let him learn something he’s interested in and good at.

A week into the symester, Y tells me that Mr. Lee is now happy with my teaching.  According to her, he used to hate me, but not so much anymore.  Great.  Only partially hated.  I guess that’s something.  I accomplish this by using Mr. Lee as a model.  I have him do what I ask the students to do.  Only his English is terrible – much worse than the boys – and he’s a ham, so he never shuts up and he loses the entire class.  But that shows the boys what they are supposed to do and makes him feel important.  But I want to stab myself during the entire ordeal every time.  Mr. Excitement, that’s what he is.  I often wonder if the boys enjoy his massages, or if they are as creeped out as I am.

The English Zone has been approved.  Ms. Baek is leaving the school.  In Kyung will take over her duties.  I show In Kyung the ideal classroom design, and she gets excited.  Ideally, the children must come to the room with nothing, and must relinquish all their many personal electronics and phones at the door.  The typical English Zone has seating groups of 6 to 8, but the Korean tables and chairs are way too wide and comfortable, so I have narrow standing desks with narrow stools instead, in a parallel or u-shaped formation, which makes each student face a conversation partner and/or they can easily push in their stools and the partners can easily rotate.  Student numbers are permanently fixed to the tables so I can easily grade participation, since I can’t possibly remember over 600 students I see only once a week.  There will be a giant electronic touch screen and audio equipment that actually works.  Hopefully no damned chalk boards.

But all that is mute for me, since I doubt I’ll be here to enjoy it.

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