Munchkins Run Amok
I finally snapped a picture of some of my kids. It's harder than you would think! Some of these little devils just don't like the camera, but that's okay. I will sneak attack them all sooner or later. They run around screaming "Teacher no!" You'd think I was paparazzi or something..anywho, up above (from l to r), that's Joey, Joseph, and Joon. Joey and Joon are in the same class and they just go ballistic. They look all cute but they're 2 of my most ill-mannered children. They come into school screaming and rowdy and they leave that way, too. I just try to harness all that energy for 45 minutes and pray to God. It's always the boys...all my girls are so sweet and good. Almost all the boys are literally insane. Joseph is sweet. He's very shy and quiet, but he's amazingly bright. He has great pronunciation for such a low level. Most Asians ESL students struggle pronouncing L's and R's. In Korean, those 2 letters are actually one sound so oftentimes, students will say "lope" instead of "rope" and "rake" instead of "lake". It's very interesting...linguistics.
I really treat these kids like my own. I can never stay mad at them as much as I try. They're so adorable sometimes that I can't be mad. I just have to laugh. I give them the "angry teacher face" and they're quiet for 2.5 seconds. I've lost count of how many times I say "Sit down!" But I'm trying. I'm not a mean person and I hate yelling, but I'll do it. Banging on the desks is also effective. When I first started, I really would just get pissed off and angry at my students sometimes. They weren't responding to me or they'd be so painfully quiet. Thankfully, most of them have warmed up to me. I have my favorites for sure so I'll try to get pictures of everyone. My kids also come and go though. Some kids quit, never to be heard from again. Luckily, no one that I'm really attached to has quit. But you just never know so I'm trying not to be so attached. That's the hard part for me - trying not to care as much as I do. I genuinely care if my students understand this stuff so it would be disheartening for a student to just up and quit. But oh well...c'est la vie :)
I tried a new method today for getting them speaking in English. A lot of times, students revert to Korean when they don't know the English word. They don't really understand the idea of circumlocution. I had to use it all the time when learning Spanish and I think it's extremely necessary. Circumlocution is the practice of talking around a word. For example, if you don't know the word for "apple", you'd try to explain what you mean by describing it - it's red, round, a fruit, etc. That's ideally what you want students to do. But mine just start chattering in Korean and it's totally disruptive. So my new system is that anytime someone speaks in Korean, I deduct points from their next test. Tests are taken very seriously. Needless to say, some of my classes were a little quiet today, but that's okay. It's a great thing actually because it forces them to THINK in English. They have to pull out the vocabulary they know and try to form a sentence. So we'll see how that goes....
So my friend, D, is like a superstar or something. She knows people all over the world cuz she works for a pretty well-known musician. So, she connected me with one of her friends in Seoul (actually several of her friends!) who plays for the national basketball team here, Mark. So I met up with Mark a couple days ago in Gangnam, a very ritzy area in Seoul. He's recovering from his season-ending knee surgery and heading back to the States on Sunday, but it was still nice to meet him. We really had a fun time. You're gonna think I'm absolutely retarded, BUT I had the most fun watching football! Yes, good ole American football. I really missed it! And he ordered room service for me! I had scrambled eggs, toast, sausage, and potatoes. I was beyond ecstatic about it. I was downright giddy actually and Mark thought that was hilarious. Unfortunately, Mark is a Cowboys fan (BOO!!!!!!) and I'm an Eagles fan (E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!!) so we argued for 2 hours about which team is better. Ironically, the Eagles and Cowboys played Sunday so he was really talkin smack then. Even though the Cowboys have won more Superbowls than any team, they haven't BEEN to a Superbowl in years...which proves my point: They suck! Hahaha. But I really had a blast and so I'm thankful for people looking out for me. He's going to pass along my number to his teammate, Dan, who's still there. Dan's from Seattle and when I was in Seattle, I met his brother who also plays basketball internationally. If that ain't a small world, I dunno what is!
I'm exhausted lately and I'm wondering if jetlag can be delayed for a month..? Truthfully, I felt no type of jetlag when I first got here. But the past few days, my gas tank is on empty. I'm taking the bajillion vitamins my mother sent, I'm exercising again, and I'm eating properly. So what gives? I just don't know....maybe I'm not as adjusted as I thought. Anyway, pretty boring on this side of the world right now :) I might head to Daegu this weekend, about 3-4 hours from me. My friend Sheron has a 4-day weekend and invited me down there. You know I can't sit still. :)
One last random thing....I almost can't read the news anymore!! It seems like everyday there's something negative about the US in the headlines. I love how gas continues to skyrocket. Today, I read an article about how our international reputation is almost beyond repair. That's nothing new, but I always feel so patriotic when I'm out of the country. I'm like 2 steps away from wearing an American flag. For no other reason than to show people that not all Americans are the same way. In so many ways, I'm proud to be an American. At least in my mind, that word still conjures so many positive images - we are innovative, determined, caring leaders. We have an undeniable stamp on the world. America is my family, for better or for worse. Some people pack up and leave and adopt new families, permanent expats who divorce themselves from their roots. But hey, we live in a world where that's possible and that's completely okay. As much as I travel around the globe, I know where home is. I know where my family is (literal and figurative). Sure, you have knock-down drag-out fights with your family. You go for days, weeks, even years without speaking to your family. You get pissed off and say mean things to your family. But truthfully, you have a soft spot for that family. You can never remove your DNA. Yeah, sometimes America really sucks. But you know what? Show me a country whose citizens are 100% happy with their government/society and I'll show you cows on Saturn. So, at the end of the day, I'm glad I bleed red, white, and blue. I'm proud to see those stars and stripes. And I'm thankful that I can always come home...<3 J