3/21/2008

Wait, Dog Sh*t in My Classroom??

I seem to be angry quite a bit lately, but I promise it's not my normal disposition. I'm very jovial. Joia the Jovial Woman. Yup. But just certain things have been grating on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I'll go ahead and get to my story because it's been fermenting inside my mind all day. So, there was another "incident" in one of my classes today. Yeah, a racial one with a different group of kids. Even younger than the first ones. And apparently, in the eyes of these little ones, brown-skinned people are even lower than monkeys. Everything was going fine. I'd just finished playing a game and everyone was laughing and happy. "Turn to page 25...Let's do Part A and..." But I never got that sentence out. Here they go pointing and laughing at THIS little girl. A perfectly normal child.


As I'd learned before though, absolutely nothing good was going to come from this confrontation. They weren't making monkey faces. Oh no...this time they kept saying "dog" over and over along with the Korean word for poop. I played dumb in an attempt to get further clarification.

"Teacher!!! Look!!" They pretended to squat and take a sh*t.

"Huh? What? I don't get it...." *blink*stare*blink*

"Girl...and...black...and...*Korean word for poop*...and...."

More confusion from Joia teacher on that one. Since they are so low level, they couldn't properly explain what they were getting at. So, they went ahead and drew me some pictures. Uh huh. Big ole piles of dog sh*t. And pointed to the little girl. Then back to the dog poop, then back to the little girl. One of them even pointed at me too and said, "Like Joia teacher!!"

WORD, you little twit? WORD??????

But I tried a couple of different things. After 5 minutes of this back and forth nonsense, I straight up cussed them all out. Without the cuss words. To paraphrase, I basically said that maybe you should bring your little behind to any other part of the world, outside your little homogenous bubble of Korean-ness and experience just a tenth of what you are so generously unleashing on everyone else!! Would you like it if someone made fun of your eyes or your nose or your rotted out teeth or your skin?? What if Joia teacher called you ugly because you're Korean?? What if you walked down the street and everyone stared and pointed and laughed at you?? How would YOU feel???!

Hmmm. A moment of reflection. After that they all looked at me with big eyes, wondering what in the hell I was rambling about and what they'd done to make me so mad. It was an empty release because I almost feel like I wasted a good cussing out on kids who won't really get the message. I wish my middle-schoolers would've said something like this because it could've really been breath well spent. I didn't make them write this time. They all just sat with their hands folded on their desks, not speaking or moving at all. I sat in silence staring hard at all of them. For 10 minutes. Ten minutes of nothingness is especially tortuous when you're 8 though. When I finally did speak again, my voice was very low. I found this to be more effective when getting my mood across. My body language gave off that energy and they were even afraid to say goodbye to me. They filed out of class, imaginary tails tucked neatly between their legs. And I went back to my desk and exhaled. I hate yelling at my kids. God, I really do. But I hate even more that they are being poisoned like this. It breaks my heart to know that this is the way their minds are being molded. Their mental filters are out of commission and so everything gets poured in and absorbed. I can only shake my head...and trudge on. Oh how I'd just love a word or 352014235987 with their parents...and a translator of course.

One other thing has been pestering me for the past couple of weeks. It's the issue of gratitude. Steve has been really great helping me out in Korea. I'd truly be lost without his kindness. Last month, he talked to the Directors about my pay during the January winter intensive classes. Basically, they were going to pay me a lot less than what I'd really worked because of how the schedules were set up. It's complicated so I won't get into it, but I was very thankful to him for doing that. I hadn't asked him to but he just did it. Fine. I had planned to treat him to dinner or something anyway to show my thanks. But what has really irked the mess out of me was that he actually brought up this whole idea of "owing him" every day SINCE he negotiated it for me!! I mean, it has been non-stop. He'd say things like, "Joooooiiiiaaaaaa, you know you owe me a big expensive dinner for getting you more money right??" Oh yeah, subtlety is a foreign concept with him. Everytime I turned around, he'd remind me of what I owe, like a bookie. I'm a firm believer in back-scratching and I have no problem bending over backwards for those who've done right by me. No question about it. HOWEVER, this idea of owing drives me nuts. And I hate it even more when people try to tell me how I should divvy up MY gratitude. I think it's in such poor taste. Of course I'm grateful that he got me the money but I didn't ask for it and I wasn't counting on it. But since I was getting it, I had made plans for it. But he seemed hell-bent on trying to spend the very money that he'd gotten for me and I dunno, it just totally rubbed me the wrong way. I never said anything to him about it. I just rolled with it. Today, I finally took him and the other 2 teachers out for lunch and a movie. I dropped about $70 so hopefully he'll leave me the heck alone now.

Well, that's all for today. Maybe I should change the name of my blog to "The Daily Pissivity" since I'm always pissed off....thoughts? Lol. Until then, J

9 comments:

Maya said...

Good lord! I feel bad for those kids! I can't believe that! I'm glad you didn't let it slide either. I know they're going to remember you for that.

I'm putting you on my blog roll just cuz.

Also, you're going the Indo in October? I would love to chill with you! We all seem like like-minded folks.

My sis loves your hat, BTW!

Chex you later! :)

Maya said...

Okay...I already wrote my reply, but nice kicks girl. I need them on my feet, like, now! :)

Keep your head up!

Christina said...

Oh good gracious! Really! Dog poop! You've got to be kidding me!

Kay said...

Wow...I can't believe they said you (and black people) looked like dog poop. Even more hilarious (?) that you cussed them out!

Have you thought about what you might do if another class acts like this? When people say dark skin or brown skin is ugly, I often like to remind them that the Earth, that grows everything we need to survive, is brown. The most populous eye color is brown, and one of the most populous hair colors is also brown. Certainly your Korean students don't believe that their eye color is also the color of dog poop...?

:)

Bill said...

And here I was thinking it was bad that every student seems to point out how my nose is bigger than theirs. Hopefully by having you as a teacher they'll come out with a positive experience of black people. I think most of the kids would benefit from having a black teacher. I don't think either of the schools I've worked at (one in Daechi and one in Bucheon) would even consider hiring a black person, and I've seen a lot of racist comments in their writing. Same thing happened when I worked at an all-black school in America and a third grade girl told me killed Martin Luther King and a boy thought I was a light-skinned black person because "white people are mean." You just need to fix their attitude before they're old enough to hate.

Ms Black Mamba said...

Good lawd! You handled that soooo well, cuz I don't know WHAT I would have done. To point at another child (AND the teacher) and make such rude remarks....sad, just sad. I know my temper and they are sooooo lucky they had a true professional. I swear, had it been me....it would have looked like a remake of Godzilla in that room once I commenced to smashing desks around their little selves. Just joking. Maybe. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I came across your blog while doing a search for black teachers in Korea. I am an African American female who is extremely interested in teaching English in Korea. I would love to chat with you sometime! My email is tycutee@hotmail.com

~Tammy

Vakker Kvinne said...

Holy crap! And I thought it was bad in Norway.

LadyWritesTheBlues said...

Damned those little boogers!!!! I know, I know, it's not their fault, but I couldn't help myself!

I'm still shocked about the bleaching cream thing that you told me about...

I'm hoping the guy that helped you out is over himself now that you've spent $70 on his bragging a**! Lol.