It's Friday night and I've finished my first week of classes. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. All in all I don't believe it's going to be too difficult a job. It's a lot like what I did in Japan, just with a little more supervision and much more advanced children. And speaking of the children, they're HORRIBLE. And when I mean horrible, imagine 15-20 kids all yelling, throwing things, talking, playing video games...and then you are shouting until you are hoarse for them to stop and listen and they don't even bat an eye. You go over to them and steer them towards their seat and they just get back up again, you yell for them to stop throwing paper across the room and they pause, look at you, and continue to do so. (And all theses kids are conversational, don't think they don't know what I'm saying to them) It always reminds me of that scene in Titanic when Jack and Rose are walking and talking along the boat deck and she says "...It's like I'm standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs and no one even looks up." Yeah. It's like that.
My previous counterpart, Cody, told me before coming that she had "a discipline problem". I never imagined the extent of that discipline problem. I have two classes twice a week that are entirely too large. They are more than double that of my regular classes and I have no idea why these two classes have so many students. They are my worst classes mostly in part because there are so many of them not listening as opposed to half as many not listening in a normal sized class. The Korean teachers told me that they know that we are just after school program teachers and not "real" teachers so they don't care and know they can't get in serious trouble for acting that way...then again they also told me that a guy just got fired from there two months ago for not being "strict enough" because he got complaints from parents (the parents can wander the school and watch through the windows of your classes if they want) that he wasn't able to control the kids. Great. On Tuesday after I had those enormous classes and after my mini stroke subsided I decided that I have to figure out a way to get them to chill the eff out. Thursday I spent nearly 20 minutes rearranging where they sit. Get them away from their friends, separate them. I'd say it calmed them down by about 30%. I have a long way to go but if anyone has any suggestions on how to control something like that, by all means, send them my way.
The rest of the classes aren't TOO bad. Once the new semester starts (after the 1st) I'll have fixed everything to make it the way I want instead of Cody's way and hopefully I'll have a better grasp on things and a clear idea on how to handle these monstrous kids. They may be smarter than Japanese kids but definitely have worse behavior.
Al is learning Hangul (The Korean alphabet) so hopefully his knowledge will pass onto me like it did with Japanese. It's very helpful with him having that extra special part in his brain for languages. I've not learned how to say anything in Korean, although I do keep accidentally speaking to them in Japanese. And, to a Westerner, Korean and Japanese people do look very similar so to me it's just another day in Japan...until I speak Japanese, realize that I am, in fact, not in Japan and do a mental facepalm while hoping I didn't greatly offend them.
It's FREEZING here. From everything I read I thought Busan had relatively mild (40s-50s) winters. I don't think it's gotten above 35 and that's pushing it. And I have a 30 minute walk to and from school! It's not pleasant. Oh, it's also quite windy. I'm hoping it's just a severe cold front and that it will warm up (just hit 40! Please!) soon.
So, Kim Jong Il died. Awesome. "Were you in Japan when the big earthquake hit?" "Yep." "Were you in Korea when Kim John Il died?" "Yep..." I'm wondering why I wasn't in Cairo during all the riots. It seems wherever I am there is international news of some kind that could possibly get my family stirred up with anxiety. Hopefully this won't directly affect me and it will result in good news for the Korean people and not a direct order from the US Embassy for all the foreigners to get on outta dodge.
Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve...crazy. Can't believe I'm stuck in cold Korea. I wasn't home for Christmas last year either but at least I was off doing something awesome.
It's getting late and I've had an excruciatingly long week. Good night!