Tag Archives: kinders

Throwing Ethan Under the (School) Bus

So this isn’t a complaint about my school specifically, it is more about the “education as a business” model in Korea in general. Most of the time I can make peace about the practice, even if I don’t always love how it is implemented. It is, after all, how I make my money. But sometimes things happen that just absolutely enrage me.

We are currently doing “Open House” at our school. This means that the parents come into the school and watch their little darlings have a “class”. Of course, it is a total farce. For one of my classes I was told show my Reading and Comprehension class (usually 35 minutes), my Language Arts class (usually 35 minutes) and do our Speech Contest song. All in 15 minutes. Yah. It’s nothing but a show, and it’s annoying, but I get it. Show ’em the good bits. No warts.

That’s not what pissed me off. What pissed me off is how I was told to handle one of my little guys during the Open House. This little bundle of awesome is named Ethan, and although he’s not the brightest crayon in the box, he sure tries hard and he has been improving.

The issue is that Ethan took just about a month off to vacation in Guam. Lucky little turd. But in light of that, I was told to make sure that Ethan didn’t do as well as the other kids, so that parents could see how much children improve in a month.

What? You want me to intentionally embarrass this kid by making him look stupid in front of his friends and everyone’s mommy and daddy to try and show how awesome the school is? ARE YOU MENTAL? HE IS FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD.

The thing is, little Ethan already was never going to do as well as the others; he’s behind in his reading. He *isn’t* as good as the others, he wasn’t even before the vacation. But he tries so hard and he deserved to be given the chance to do his best for his mommy.

So I gave him that chance. Because being a good teacher is trying to always do right by your little guys. And that little dude may have fucked up his reading a wee bit (as per usual), but he was good at answering questions and he rocked the hell out of the song. I was super proud of him.

The administration at my school, however, can do one at the moment.

Where would you like to go on a field trip? Why?

Okay, so I may have the wording of the question slightly off. I don’t have the lesson plan in hand. But that’s close enough to count.

I would like to go back to the Kid’s Café . ANY Kid’s Café.

So. What’s a Kid’s Café? It’s a place of awesomeness if you are a kindergarten teacher. It’s a big room full of soft, safe shit for the kids to go monkeynuts on. And we just have to watch.

It’s the greatest field trip you can hope for: A full day of no lessons, happy children, and free coffee. So much win.

Random Children Chatterings

There were a few gems over the last week or so. Thought I’d lump a few together into one post. Save us all some time.

Evan the Heretic

In one of the 11 years old elementary classes, we are prepping for TOEFL. One of the reading passages was about the death penalty (we’ve also covered the holocaust and a few other cheery topics).

Evan says, “I don’t need to read this. I know all about the death penalty.”

I said, “Oh really? What do you know about it?”

“Well,” he says, “I had the death penalty happen to me in a past life. They punched and kicked and burned me alive for saying that the earth went around the sun.”

That kid is too hilariously smart for his own good.

Stop Hitting Yourself

In one of my kindergarten classes Justin kept asking “who’s punching me?”… while punching himself.

Beer Cup

Kindergarten Ethan rarely answers questions correctly, and I loved this one. There was a picture of a glass that did look a lot like a pint glass. The children all guessed “cup” when I asked “what is this?”

I told them that wasn’t the correct answer. After a pause Ethan pipes up and says, “BEER CUP!”

That kid is going places.

Stinkypants

So, one of our teachers doesn’t smell very good. As in, eye-wateringly bad some days. Last week he took to showering in Axe. He was teaching my kindergarten homeroom for a block, and I had to go in there after him. It stank so badly of Axe, I would have known he had been in there even if I didn’t know my kids’ schedule.

It was so pungent that I asked, “Was [teacher’s name] spraying something in here?” while miming spraying myself with something. It was so strong I figured he must have reapplied in the room. And that’s pretty fucking sick.

“No, Teacher,” Luna replied with her nose scrunched up. “That’s just his body.”

Awesome. Even the kids think he’s the stinky teacher.

Today’s News

That 2:30 class. I love them. Today during reading time, Jessica and Albert started reading like newscasters. Saying things like “Today on Albert News”, and then reading the page of the story like a newscaster. Albert would finish by saying, “Thank you to listening to my news. Over to you, John.”

John was singing his pages whilst dancing. And while he was doing that, Jessica and Ellie were miming taking pictures… the paparazzi.

But perhaps my favourite was Lilly. While the other four children were being monkeys, she just smiled her patient Mona Lisa smile, waiting her turn, and then reading as seriously and perfectly as she always does. What a kid.

First Day of School

First, a disclaimer or two

a. I am using the WordPress app to write this and it might be crapola.
b. I have skipped a post chronologically (about my first impressions of my new flat and getting it sorted) because I haven’t written it yet and until I put my laundry away I’m not taking any “after” pictures.

Disclaimers all done. Let’s crack on, shall we?

Get up, Get up, Get Moving

My first class is at 10:30 but I’m expected to be there between 9:30 and 9:45. First week, so I’m super-keener and defo getting there for 9:30. It’s taking me a good 20 minutes to walk at the moment (I think once I stop gawking at signs, I’ll be faster) so I’m trying to leave the house around 9:00.

Which means getting up at 7:30 so I can do healthy-good-habit-things like eat breakfast. It was pretty rough this morning, my sleep is still buggered all to Hades and back. I was also not happy with the fact that the voltage step-changer thing in my flat was obvs not working and my hair straightener got fried. Jodi Teacher was not having good hair today. And unless I can source a straightener, I’m going to be Hair-in-a-pony-tail Teacher for the next couple months until I can get my stuff from London shipped.

Once out the door, it was a chilly twenty minute walk to the school. It’s an easy walk though and there is loads to look at. One (warmer) morning I’ll take pictures along the way and share with y’all. Once to the correct building, it’s up to the 8th floor to get to ILS (International Language School) Dongbaek.

Before We Put the Spaghetti In The Machine

So. The teacher I replaced left in December. It was apparently kind of sudden, but I’m not sure the entire story. Whatever. But what that means is that there was no one to shadow on my first day. Which is an entire boatload of bad news bears.

I was handed the Teacher’s Handbook (which is one of those handbooks that doesn’t make any sense until you’ve started actually working), a class schedule (which doesn’t make any sense until you’ve started actually working), a syllabus (which doesn’t… aw, you see where I’m going with this). I was pretty confused. One of the “foreign staff” (read: white teachers) was as helpful as she could be while getting herself ready, and the Korean staff did their best but were also teaching all day.

Not a great start to the day, but you just got to get in there and muck in. My target for today was zero children deaths and zero Jodi Teacher break-downs. As long as we all survived, even if no one learned anything, I figured we were winning.

::SIDE NOTE::

I would have said “zero children maimed”, but in my first week teaching ever (back in 2005, the first time I had a go at this) Ryan and Julia smashed heads in the “play gym”. Ryan’s teeth went through his lip. Blood everywhere. I’ve since adjusted my targets appropriately.

::END SIDE NOTE::

Class Acts

From 10:30 (apparently sometimes from 09:50, if I have to do “Circle Time”) until 2:30 I teach two different kindergarten classes. It’s hard to explain. I teach “Snoopy” class (they are all named like that) for 35 minutes, then I teach “Tigger” class for 35 minutes. While I’m teaching Snoopy, either another foreign teacher or a Korean teacher teaches Tigger. And then we switch classes and classrooms. This is very different than what I did before, so it’ll take some getting used to. The good thing is that the day goes pretty quick when you work in 35 minute blocks.

The kids in Snoopy Class are 7 years old and pretty much fluent. It’s not a very large class, and they seem lovely. Smart as whips and really eager.

The kids in Tigger Class are either 4 or 5 years old and I’m not sure why anyone thought it was a good idea for me to teach them. They aren’t fluent, they can’t really write, they can’t read and they are off the fucking walls half the time. But cute? You’ve never seen cute like this. One of the little buggers told me he loved me already at the end of the day and gave me a hug. Almost made having to tell him to sit down roughly 8,000,000 times worth it.

The Snoopy kids are totes my style. The Tigger kids are going to be a real challenge, but I’m sure it’ll be alright.

In the afternoons I teach a variety of elementary aged kids in 45 minute blocks. Not much to say about them yet, they are all bright and I don’t think any will be a problem. I have one super high energy class and one quiet class, both are challenging in their own ways but I think will balance each other nicely.

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I teach until 7:10, but I have two hour-long “breaks” (should be lesson planning, but that’s easy compared to teaching!) during those times. On Tuesday and Thursday I’m done by 5:30, so it is all good.

Home Again, Home Again

Happily my last class didn’t have any kids show (it is the first day after hols, after all) so I was able to leave early. I walked home with the other foreign teacher, then tucked into a lovely ramen and beer dinner. To say that I’m completely shattered at this point would be an understatement. I’m so sleepy and it is only 9:30pm. I really wanted to get this written before I crashed though, and I have brought home all the papers that were on my desk to try and organise myself a little. I don’t know if the teacher before me was good or not, but the way she had herself “organised” does my head in. I think this will be a lot easier once I get myself sorted. Once I get that done, it’ll be early to bed for me.

My first day back teaching. It was exhausting and chaotic, but I’m also happy to be doing it. Which is a good thing.

Just as a last note, as I emptied my pockets and changed into my jammies, I found the following stuff in my pocket.

20140106-213130.jpg

The two green… things… were confiscated. The piece of eraser was a present. Oh yah.

>What is This? The Year of the Jerk?

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So, it was just the Lunar New Year. We are out of the Year of the Dog and into the Year of the Pig. I was happy to have a day off.  I had put together a story to explain to the kids about the animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac. I got the information from Wikipedia and dumbed it down for them.  Here it is.
Happy New Year

A long time ago, the Jade Emperor decided to name each year after an animal to help people remember what year it was. When the animals heard his idea, they began arguing which animal should be named first. To end their fighting, the Jade Emperor announced there would be a race to determine the order the animals would appear. All the animals would have to race across the river and report to him.
The cat and the rat were good friends. They were very smart, but very bad swimmers. They decided to cross the river on the back of the ox. The ox, being naive and good-natured, agreed to carry them. Halfway across, the crafty rat pushed the cat into the river. When the ox reached the shore the rat jumped off the ox’s head and claimed first place. The friendly ox was second.  The cat was missing.
The third animal to cross was the powerful tiger, who swam his best in the strong currents. Closely behind came the rabbit, who had hopped quickly from stone to stone in the river. Halfway though the stones disappeared, but luckily for the rabbit a log floated by that carried him to the finish line.
The dragon arrived in fifth place. The Emperor didn’t understand why such a powerful and flying animal did not finish first. The mighty dragon explained that he was not first because during the race he had to stop and make rain for all the people and creatures on earth. Then on the way to the finish line he saw a rabbit lost on a log in the middle of the river. So he did a good deed and blew the log to shore. That was why he was so late.

As soon as the dragon finished his story, the horse galloped up. As he did so, the sneaky snake slithered out of the horse’s hoof where he had been hiding.  This scared the horse so much it fell back, giving the snake the sixth spot. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh.
Shortly after that, the ram, monkey, and rooster came together on a raft that the rooster had spotted. The rooster shared his find with the ram and monkey who steered the raft and cleared the weeds.  Because they worked so well together, the Emperor named the ram eighth, the monkey ninth, and the rooster tenth.
Then the dog finally showed up.  He was a good swimmer but was having so much fun playing in the water he almost forgot about the race. The lazy pig became hungry during the race, so he ate a feast and then fell asleep. The Emperor was about to say the race was over when the pig finally showed up.
The poor cat had been swept so far down the river that by the time he walked back to the finish line, the race had been over for days and everyone had gone home. The cat was so angry that he promised to hate the rat forever.
The End

The days are just packed

>For being my “short” day – today felt like a long fucking day.

::SCHOOL::

Today we had a “market” for the kindergarten kids. Basically, all the little monkeys brought in old clothes, toys, and books. We also had stationary and snacks. Then we gave the little hooligans 20 pretend dollars and sent them off while we manned the stations. It was pretty fun, actually. We had to teach them the language of shopping, and apparently every teacher thought bargaining was an essential part of shopping (must be vacationing in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philipines that did it). They are totally screwed if they shop at a supermarket. So it was fun because they would say “Teacher, how much is this cookie?” and I could say “5000 dollars”. Most would say “too much”, and we would go from there, but the quieter kids and the dumber kids and the younger kids would just hand you whatever they had and let you figure it out. It was mayham, but it was good mayham.

::MASSAGE – PRONOUNCE THE ‘E’::

I was a little sore from Tae Kwon Do – I have pulled my… well, nearly everything hurts, okay? Everyfreakingthing. So I decided to go to the sports massage guy. And he tortured me for an hour. It feels good, but it kills you at the same time. It felt like he was trying to separate the individual muscle fibres. I think he succeeded. It was painful… but not the most painful thing I did today.

::TAE KWON STICK::

Today Tae Kwon Do was also painful because of the massage. And I was sleepy. I felt like I couldn’t do anything, and was very sore trying to do it. But we did start to learn to use weapons today – and that kicks serious ass. Even better… I wasn’t too bad at it and I thought I would blow. We are using “Tae Kwon Sticks” (I forgot the Korean for them – that is the English the Master told us and I think it sounds goofy as shit) and they rule. They are about as long as your forearm and you get two of them. They keep getting caught in my shirt, but I still like them. I thought I wouldn’t be any good with them because you sort of twirl them like a baton – and I had a silvery baton with tassels when I was 7 and I wasn’t any good with it. But I didn’t do too badly. And the sweetest thing is that we can buy our own. Whoo-hoo! Also, I should get a yellow belt after next week. More sweetness.

::TOO MUCH SKIN::

I was sore after Tae Kwon Do, so I thought I would go to the sauna to soak in their tubs, as I do not have one.

~Side Note on Muscle Soreness~

Can you believe I can’t find Tiger Balm in this country? What the?

~End Side Note~

While at the sauna, I thought I would try the scrub service, as it is only $15 and I could use some exfoliation as much as the next person. Some exfoliation – yes. What this half-naked Korean woman did to my body – no.

Remember that at a sauna you are walking around naked everywhere. So I walk (naked) to the scrubby ladies (who are wearing nothing but bra and panties – which is more than me) and indicate that I want the 15,000won jobbie. She doesn’t speak English, I don’t speak Korean, but through pantamime and gesture we get on the same page. She has me lie face up on a pink plastic table. And then the pain began.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I thought it would be a little rough – it IS exfoliation, after all. However, I did not think that she would come after me like you would a dirty freaking floor. She had a glove on each hand that felt like those little green scrubbies you use to clean pots. And she started rubbing. AURGH! Not only was it ROUGHER than I thought – but she exfoliated in places that I didn’t need exfoliating. Like my armpits. Like my colon. It was really, really invasive. My favorite part was lying on my side, one leg up in the air and the other bent on the table so she could really get to my upper inner thigh. Oh dear.

In the end though it was worth it. After the scrub she massaged oil in (also everywhere – I should have tipped and lit a cigarette) and then hosed me down (definately should have tipped). I liked her; she would indicate that I needed to turn over by giving me a slap. Nice.

Now I’m off to bed ’cause I’m very tired after today. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m very happy that tomorrow is Friday. I definately could use another weekend.

::JODI IN THAILAND::

Moms – I’m not dying of some weird tropical disease. The weird vertigo and nausea thing isn’t happening anymore, but I did go to the doctor exactly as you ordered. Although he isn’t 100% sure, the doctor thinks the sickness I experienced was due to my extremely (apparently) low blood pressure. It doesn’t usually bug me, but he thought the change in humidity, temperature, and altitude probably dropped it so low that I was near passing out all the time. Next time I will just have to ingest more salt. Who’da thunk it?

>One more sleep

>

Even though going to Thailand has been in the works for weeks now, it hasn’t felt real. It is starting to feel real now that I am packing bags and only have one more sleep until I get on the damned plane. And I’m a wee bit nervous. How did I go from never going anywhere to going everywhere?? This is craziness…

Not much has been going on this week except my absolute sickness and working. I even took a day off work, I was that freaking sick. I’m still not better, but I’m still getting on the damned plane. I don’t know how bad I would have to be before I would miss this trip… flesh-eating disease. Maybe.

Last week, a package came from my moms (thanks moms!) with many treats in it… I’m so happy about the cinnamon gum I’m giddy. But the best was a present addressed to “Jodi Teacher and her Monkeys… from Santa”. The kids went, well… apeshit. It was hilarious. They kept saying “Jodi Teacher, you writing? You writing, right?” And I kept assuring them that no, no… it wasn’t me. That “Jodi Teacher’s Mommy” said Santa left the present at her house by mistake and she had just sent it along for him. They bought it.

::SIDE NOTE::

Christmas is fun with a group of people who still believe in all of it. The monkeys have been crazy this week – and every once in a while they break out in “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, which is sung mostly phonetically.

::END SIDE NOTE::

The present ended up being “magic trees” that we could put together. Fun! The kids had a great time, and I took a bunch of pictures. They are at Flickr, if you want to see happy monkeys. I also took pictures of my PK (afternoon) kids. They can be cute sometimes too. I have to give them all tests tomorrow afternoon and I feel like a Scrooge. Merry fucking Christmas, bastards – write your damned test on the last day before holidays (insert evil laughter here).

So… I won’t be online until after December 31st. I WILL be on the beach with a beverage in one hand and a novel in the other. Aaron promised we can go look at monkeys (real monkeys, not Korean children). I should have lots of pictures (of MONKEYS) when I get back.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone. I hope your holiday is happy, safe, and is spent with people you want to spend time with (I mean, as best you can without me there with you). And because virtual kisses just aren’t the same, consider this my IOU for a big, sloppy, drunken New Years Eve kiss, which you can redeem the next time you see me (no matter when or where that happens to be). Cheers!

Original Comments:

Jeanine wrote (on 27/12/05):
Merry Christmas Jodi!!! Miss ya and hope you have an awesome wicked trip!
Thanks for the card too. A little bit of news for you….Christa and Randy are expecting a baby in Aug 2006 and Brynn and Matt got engaged on her birthday! Lots of changed coming up. Nothing really new in my life. Bought a car last weekend, so I will be working extra hard now! Haha. Talk soon, be safe and drink lots, J

>Open Class, Korean wedding, Everland, immigration and the hospital… again

>

So much has happened since the last blog, I feel like such a dillhole for not typing sooner. But I have been feeling a little off my game this last week. Not sad… not tired… not sick (or homesick)… just not on my game. I’m going to take it easier this weekend and see if I can get on the ball. I have housework and all kinds of crap to get caught up on. It doesn’t help that Mike sent me the new Sims expansion pack and Civ 4 (thank you thank you thank you). Every time I SHOULD be doing something productive, I sit in front of the PC and either send my Sims out for a wild night on the town or I conquer Rome (take THAT, Caesar!).

Open Class

My open class went well. Or at least, I think it did. Because of course I have had no feedback from the school. THANKS GUYS! A-holes. Rino’s mom gave me feedback in his report book though: “Rino and his friends did a good job at open house. Rino’s attitude is much better now… thanks to you.” That’s right bitches, thanks to me. Overall, my kids were good. Except Grace, who was off the hook. But I’m still pretty happy with it overall.

Korean Wedding

On Saturday nine out of the eleven foreign teachers went to Jenny’s wedding. I would like to tell you more about the ceremony, but seven out of nine (including yours truly) were late. OOPSIE! Stupid traffic/buses/subway/trying to run in high heels. If you want to know more about it, try M.C. Frances-Teacher’s blog. She’s a better person than the rest of us, and she was there on time. We caught some chick singing, some crazy cake-cutting (it looked like they were using either dry ice or a smoke machine as a special effect) and then a zillion pictures. After that there was food, and then they went into another room for the traditional Korean ceremony (which is a different outfit and a lot of fucking bowing). The entire thing didn’t even take three hours. So of course, the North Americans were a little lost, having expected the wedding to run much later. We made up for it by pub-crawling in Seoul. It was great fun. A highlight was having Frances teach Aaron, Woody and I how to make cranes out of napkins. There was a good twenty or so on the table by the time we were done. Hey – when you hang out with retarded five-year old monkeys all week, you become easily amused. (And before you can even THINK of a sarcastic sassback to that one, mother… “MORE easily amused” in my case. I know.)

Everland

Because we didn’t do enough on the weekend (just drinking Friday night and the Korean wedding and pub-crawling on Saturday – aurgh!), Frances, Laura, Andrea and I went to Everland. Yup, again. And yup, it was fun fun fun again! Hooray! I love rides! And we did buy some silly hats. I have pictures at my Flickr site, as does Frances. It was a bit chilly, but a quick attempt at “Dance Dance Revolution” warmed us up (and I’m sure the Koreans that were laughing at us were warmed up too). There was an amazing fireworks display, and it is all made up for Christmas. We plan on going back (with some longjohns on) sometime in December to check it out again.

Immigration

Sigh. Immigration seems to be cracking down again. So Tuesday after work we all had to go to Suwon to hand in a “Confirmation of Degree”. No biggie, but a reminder that I’m not in my home country any more. I will have to go back to Suwon one day soon – they have this ginormous fortress wall that I would like to check out. It was nice that the school drove us to the immigration office. Aaron, Orla, Frances, Laura and I took the opportunity to have multi-entry visas added to our passports. That will be handy when travelling to Thailand, Japan, and China (or, so is the plan) over the next year. Poor Brooke had to sit and wait for us all to finish, but she was a really good sport about it. (I don’t think Brooke reads my blog – but in case she does – dude, I hope they fix your mold problem soon.)

Hospital

I’m retarded and shouldn’t be allowed to use sharp objects. On Tuesday I was cutting erasers in half (so they will last longer. I’m not sure if the kids eat them or what, but they go missing quickly) when I got distracted and cut a HUGE chunk out of my left index finger. No. HUGE. It was gross. GROSS GROSS GROSS. Right at the pad of the finger, where my fingerprint would be. At first, it didn’t even hurt. I thought “Holy crap, that’s quite a hole there” and then it started to bleed. A lot. So I went off in search of a band-aid with my finger in my mouth. I asked Richard-Teacher, who said he had one. He grabbed it, and had to help me put it on because by this point my finger is bleeding badly enough that I can’t get the bandaid on one-handed. (Side note: it was a Betty Boop bandaid that Rich stole from one of the kids. Good job!) Within moments I realize that I’m starting to bleed through the bandaid. So I get another one and put it on top of that one. Start bleeding through. So I get the Korean front desk teacher to help me put on some gauze and stuff. And then… well, then I had lunch. Thought that was that. Didn’t hurt too bad – just throbbing a little. But around 1:15 (we start lunch at 12:30 and the finger mutilation happened at 12:00), I start thinking that I should switch back to a regular bandaid to teach in. Take of the gauze. Realize that I am still fucking bleeding. They bring some white powder and dump it on there to help with the clotting. No go. Now there is blood and white powder all over the place. So the school director says “Maybe more serious?”. Yes, more serious. So they say they are going to take me to a “hospital”. Apparently, any doctor’s office is a “hospital” ’cause I ended up in a plastic surgeon’s office. Okay, look. I DON’T KNOW WHY. That’s just where they took me. It said “plastic surgeon” on the door. In English. And I asked why we were at a plastic surgeon… and Kelly-Teacher doesn’t know enough English to tell me why. They thought I would get stitches… but he just cleaned it out and bandaged it better. Whew! I didn’t want freaking stitches. Now comes the cute part.

I was late getting back from lunch – supposed to be back at 1:30 and it is now 2:00. Ellie was looking after my class while I was gone, and must have told them that I went to the hospital. When I came in the room, all the kids came up to hug me at the same time, and Amy and Grace cried because I was hurt. Cute little monkeys! I might try to slip one of them in my suitcase. All of them were very good for the rest of the afternoon, and I found out today that Rino’s mommy called the school to see how I was doing. Nice!

That brings you guys up to today with me. I try to remember to blog, but sometimes it feels too much like work and so I don’t bother. Sorry about that. If you read this… leave a comment for me so I know that it is being read. I do miss you guys.

Original Comments:

careybatgirl wrote (on 24/11/05):
If I call immigration and tell them you are a murderer, will they send you home???? I miss Jodi

Pattie Girl wrote (on 24/11/05):
I read it all the time, and I sent the link to Mom Perszon and Brynn. Hope your finger’s better!

dirtyaurghpants wrote (on 24/11/05):
carey – if you want immigration to send me home, just call and tell them i didn’t pass english 304 and my degree isn’t legit. that will get me kicked out faster than telling them i am a murderer… (i miss you too!)

and-errhea wrote (on 29/11/05):
What’s English 304 again? Don’t tell me it’s Merv’s class, or I will laugh so hard that I will pee in my pants a little bit.

jeanine wrote (on 03/12/05):
hey dude! just trying to catch up on your life adventures in Korea. Sounds like you are having a good time(other than this finger incident). I did get your message thanks! I was so excited!!!! And upset I missed the call! Will send you a xmas card with more jeaniney goodness. Miss ya lots! J

>Laid back weekend

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Relatively speaking, I did nothing this weekend. I stayed at home on Friday night to teach my body a valuable lesson about not being sick. My body learned nothing. STUPID BODY! So I tried going out drinking Saturday night. That also did not cure my sore throat, but I am feeling a great deal less stressed after trimming away some brain cells with alcohol.

I went to Hanan Market with Amelia-Teacher on Saturday. And the greatest thing happened. You can get pickles every where in Korea. Every where. But (and this is a big “but” if you are me), they are all those sweet pickles. No dill pickle goodness, and it makes me sad. Because I can tolerate sweet pickles, but I’m obsessed with dills, man. MMMM!!! And get this – they had dill fucking pickles at Hanan Market. HOORAY! There were two jars and I bought them both. They were only about $7 each (big jars too). I would have paid $20. I’m not kidding. I also found (and purchased) Pine Sol. I washed my floors, opened the window, lay down on the bed with my eyes closed and pretended to be at my moms’ house. It was glorious. Thanks, Amelia. I owe ya one. I’d give you a pickle, but I’m going to be hoarding those bastards.

Dance, Monkey. Dance.

After a disastrous and decision-doubting Tuesday and Wednesday, the week got progressively better. On Thursday, the Grand Poo-Bah and Second-Minion-in-Command came to observe my class and what we were doing for open house. After Tuesday, I was NOT looking forward to it, after everything I had done was brought in to question. But… oh glorious… the monkeys danced. They danced better that day than I could have ever hoped! I should have given them 100 stickers each, the little bastards were in such fine form. From saying things to make the observers laugh, to responding to my slightest command, they were fabulous. Key highlights include:

1. Grace READING the title of the book I was reading to them. To give you an idea of how cool this is – when these kids came to the school in February 2005, they didn’t know any English. And they are 5 years old. And my wee Graceland READ the freaking title. READ it. I love her.

2. At precisely 10:25, Amy says “Jodi-Teacher, it is water time”. Good job Amy! Way to prove that I taught you guys something about telling time.

3. When asked “What does a soldier do?”, Rino replied “Canada… come… Korea… take… Soldier… gun… stop Canada”. Yes, Rino. Yes. The Grand Poo-Bah and Second-Minion-in-Command were laughing so hard I thought they were going to fall out of their chairs.

4. At one point the monkeys were acting up, and I didn’t even have to say anything to settle them down. I raised one hand, and started a silent countdown from five. Before I got to zero, every one of those damned bastards were sitting nicely.

YES YES YES! And there were more great moments, and I felt so much better. Better about my kids, and about my decision to come here and teach. I wasn’t quite as depressed by Thursday afternoon.

Sugar High, Sugar Low

Friday was a weird-ass day. It was Pepero Day in Korea. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepero_Day for more information on the shit. But all you basically need to know is that my kids were hopped up on sugar and as unstable as Charles Manson all day on Friday. Idiots. Also, I have a truckload of these effing Peperos. Because Friday was the day you give Peperos to your friends. And the monkeys want to be sure that they are my friend.

To highlight how whacked these kids were, I’ll tell you a wee story from my 5:30 class… my most advanced and oldest kids. On Friday, we were doing one of the exercises together. We had to pick something to teach “a friend” how to do, list the materials needed, and then write out the directions. We decided to do “make pizza”, and to make things easier, when the monkeys started listing toppings, I said we would just say “toppings”. They didn’t stop with toppings. A-holes. PAY ATTENTION! LAY OFF THE SUGAR! So I told them to knock it off. Right away, Jenny (who is a very well-behaved and mild-mannered monkey normally) yells out “Frogs!”, to which I say “Jenny, I asked for less silly-ness please”, and she says “No, no, teacher! Frog toppings!” and before I can say “I told you no more FUCKING TOPPINGS!” she gives me jazz hands and yells “It’s a new taste sensation!”

I was doubled over laughing. Her impression of me was priceless. Because she did it EXACTLY how I would have done it. And now I feel sorry for my teachers. Sorry I was such a wise-ass. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry to Korea for doing this to your children. But not real sorry.

Original Comments:

tonicandgin wrote (on 14/11/05):
three things stand out if you scour the internet for ‘new taste sensation’, and here in lies the magic of the google search:
1. http://www.anewtastesensation.com/ – a chocolate fountain, aka the ‘chocolate lady’
2. this is the first hit on the list, i kid you not – Marmite Popcorn!
3. and best of all… what one website calls ‘Canada’s New Taste Sensation’ –
http://content.collegehumor.com/items/2004/06/collegehumor.60777.451xAUTO.jpg

and-errhea wrote (15/11/05):
HOLY CRAPPER!! A New Taste Sensation is hiring? Do you guys think that I should quit my job and go work for the Chocolate Lady? It’s so tempting, and that chocolate fountain thing looks like recycled-saliva goodness!

>I warned ya…

>

You should have known by the last entry that I wasn’t quite done my bitching. And, lo… I am not. Please enjoy my latest installment of “bitching about work”. I call this piece:

Art Frustration

Every Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 until 2:05 (I have to get the monkeys ready to go home at 2:05 even though the bell goes at 2:20. It takes 15 minutes because I have to help 10 monkeys put on coats. Idiots). Every Wednesday. Well, at 12:30 today, right when I was leaving for lunch, our kindergarten “coordinator” (by “coordinator” I believe they have mistranslated her title and meant “hinderer”, but I’m not sure) comes up to me and says, “The art is not appropriate today, so can you think of something else and I will get the supplies.”

To which Jodi-Teacher replies, “Not appropriate, how?” (thinking, are we painting nudes or what?)

“They are snow pictures.”

Now, all I can think is this: We have already done igloos. Before October. And the song I am supposed to be teaching the monkeys is “Ten Little Witches” (which I am refusing to do). And she is telling me that the art is “inappropriate” for November. I’m wondering why the fuck she suddenly cares. But I don’t say any of that, I say “Jenny, it is 12:30 and I’m on lunch. You are asking me to think up an art when art is less than an hour away?”

She says, “Too short of notice?” (aside: I am correcting her English as I go. My monkeys, when feeling as though the room is a tad stuffy and they are overly warm say “Me hot”, have better English skills than she does most of the time.)

I say, “Much too short.” and she suggests that I do Science today and Art tomorrow. Which I could do. So I ask her if Art will be ready for tomorrow then. She tells me that as soon as I tell her what I want for supplies for tomorrow she will get them. Sigh.

“Jenny, you are aware that I work until 7:30 tonight, right? And after that you would like me to go home and look up art projects? You do realize that I haven’t been a kindergarten teacher for 10 years and have art ideas falling out of my ears, right? You do realize that I have been bringing work home every night this week, right?”

She says: “So you don’t want to plan art at home tonight?”

Fucking genius. Yes, that is what I am saying. Yes. Exactly that. Thank you. But I can’t argue any more (I want to eat my damned lunch) so I tell her I will think of something. And I decide during my lunch that I will just do Science today AND tomorrow. Hey, the monkeys love doing Science anyway.

But then the best part happened.

Apparently, Amelia-Teacher ALSO was a little… shall we say “short” with Jenny when the Art fiasco was mentioned. So short that she made Jenny cry. Oopsies. So at the end of lunch I was in Amelia’s room with her having chats about the situation. And finally, we decide to take a gander at this “inappropriate” art and see how bad it was. Guess what they had to make… no really. Guess what was so “winter themed” that we couldn’t do it in November.

Windmills. The art was making windmills. Jenny fucked up… it was the 7 year olds (I have 6 year olds, as does Amelia) who were doing winter art. Worse, Amelia and I decide we will just go ahead and make the windmills, but we’ll see if the supplies (origami paper and y-pins) are available first. Worse again, the front desk teachers had the supplies out and ready. Meaning – they thought all along that is what we were doing. AURGH!

If this was one incident in a thousand, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But this was the poop icing on a turd cake this week. It is starting to make me a wee bit bugshit (or, more bugshit depending on how well you know me). I wasn’t going to drink at all this weekend, but I might have to so I can forget that this week every freaking happened.

This was a long one, and if I lost you somewhere in there, sorry about that. But man, it feels good to rant when you can pretend that other people are going to read it. Hope your work week is going better than mine…

Original Comments:

careybatgirl wrote (on 10/11/05):
you left out one thing
did you end up doing your art project?
😛

dirtyaurghpants wrote (on 10/11/05):
yup. and the little monkeys kicked ASS making windmills.

and-errhea wrote (11/11/05):
http://toothpastefordinner.com/102705/itd-last-longer.gif