Thursday, January 19, 2012

Settling In

So here I am, 1 month and 3 days into Korea. Although I still don't know if I like it better or worse than Japan, things are becoming more routine. I definitely have a grasp on school, classes and my kids and how they behave and which ones are good speakers and which ones are nice and which ones should be thrown out the third storey window. My Tuesdays and Thursdays are nearly unbearable thanks to only a handful of kids who make the entire day a loss. I have six classes a day (except Wednesday, I have four) and my second and third classes have 18 kids each. That's a far cry from the 5-10 I have in all the others every day. I have no idea why these particular classes are so big but there's nothing I can do. The classes are called DI2 and DI3. My DI3 classes has some really good kids in it but because of all the nasty ones I rearranged their seats last Tuesday. Boy-girl-boy-girl. They hated it and whined and complained and I heard a lot of "Teacher! Change seats! I don't like this one!" as if I was going to give them what they wanted. Since I moved them around, DI3 has been full of rainbows and fluffy butterflies and unicorns compared to what it was. We even get through the lesson with enough time to spare for games, which is remarkable. Now DI2 is another story. I have this class from 10-10:50. The problem with the other class, DI3, was simply that they talked all the time. So I solved that by moving them away from their friends and it's been fine. DI2 is not only a class full of talkers but I have about 6 boys that are so unbelievably horrible I would chuck them into the Arena of The Hunger Games without batting an eye. (Preferably the Quarter Quell Arena where they can be eaten alive by those monkeys.) I know that every school and every teacher has rotten eggs of children and you wonder what on earth goes on with the parenting to make them act that way but I don't have the luxury of calling those parents. I teach at an after school program. It's not real school. Nobody cares. So today I decided to rearrange that class's seats as well. It did no good whatsoever. I'm past the point of even knowing what to do with them. I've moved them around, rewarded the good kids with candy, punished the bad ones by not letting them play games with everybody else...along with screaming myself to a migraine. I just don't know.

I have a system that tends to work in nearly every class. I put three stars on the board at the beginning of each class. If they talk when I'm talking or act up in any way I erase a star. Once they're out of stars, no games. And they LOVE games. This may sound horrible, but using this system I have a way I like to humiliate the kids acting up. Or rather, let the other kids humiliate them for me. Say there are two that refuse to listen to me. I make sure to keep pointing out those two in front of the class and then making sure everyone knows that it's the fault of those two that I'm erasing stars. The other kids in the class flip the eff out at the two bad ones by yelling at them to shut's really all I can do not to laugh because it's great entertainment. The three star/humiliation tactic does not work in my DI2 class. Nothing does. But enough with my bad kid ramble.

I have this one girl, Julie, in a lower level class. The kids in her class are probably 7-8 years old. At the end of every class we always play computer games from an English learning website. The computers in each of the classrooms are hooked up to a giant flatscreen hanging on the wall, it's fantastic. There are about 9 kids in the class and they usually get divided up into boys vs. girls. Julie is SO into the games and so serious about them I want to secretly film her one day, it's absolutely hilarious. If her team gets even 1 point behind she is nearly in tears and freaking out. On Tuesday her team was like 35 points behind or something and it was just more than she could handle.  It was her turn so I was looking around the room for her and she had gathered up her stuff and ran out of class with 10 minutes left. It was all I could do to not die of laughter.

The rest of my classes are going well. The weeks seem to go by very fast. On Febuary 1st I go back to my 1-6:30 schedule which I am stoked about. Usually I'm a get-in-and-get-out kind of person when it comes to work. I would rather go early and get out early but every morning when that alarm goes off at 7:20 I count my days until I can sleep in every single day. So tired of waking up early. (I'm going to die when I actually have a real job)

The weather is horrid. Last Friday was the first day I saw rain in a month. The sun shines every single day but the temperature is in the low 30s because it's so clear every day. And it's windy. So with the wind it feels like it's in the 20s. And I walk 30 minutes to school. Ridiculous. This past week has brought GREAT weather. It's been rainy and hovering around 50. It feels like a heat wave and I'd take rain and 50 over sun and 25 any day.

Hopefully Al and I will be moving into a new apartment this weekend! Our friends Mary and Tyler are leaving and they have a double apartment two floors up. It's pretty awesome. It's probably about the same size as our place in Japan, just a different sort of layout. And hopefully along with that new apartment will come NEW INTERNET. We've been stealing off the neighbors since we've been here and I'm tired of it. All I want to do is skype my friends and call my Nanny! Is that so much to ask? I guess it's difficult to get our school to get anything done. We'll see.

Just have to get through tomorrow and then it's a four day weekend pour moi. We were supposed to go to Japan tomorrow to get our stuff but it's just too expensive to get there. We're going to have to wait, unfortunately. All I want is my duvet and my sweaters and boots! Sigh.


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