absurdities with an o or a u

20 Nov 2008
Posted by Marisa
Marisa's picture

When living in Korea (or really anywhere, if we're going to be honest) one comes across many absurdities in day to day life. Here are the ones I experienced today.

So we're not going to dwell too much on this because I'm in the middle of dealing with it (so is Jordan) and it's best not to think too hard about it. But the province we are in has created a contest for all the foreign English teachers. We are supposed to create a star lesson plan, video it, and send it in to a panel who might award us about $500 (although it's not clear if we get the money, or the school, I'm guessing it's not likely to be us). So, my co-teacher Ms Park says my Halloween lesson was a good one, why don't I do that. I type it up, making it look much fancier than it is and then this morning we video it in class (keep in mind the class has already had this class, back when it was actually Halloween). So we watch all the same video clips, do the same crossword puzzle and then, to top it all off, I give them fake homework (because the directions are that I assign homework, but in actuality I do not assign homework). I did draw a nice princess on the board, though. We finished a bit early (I wonder why, could it be that everyone is bored out of their minds and knows the answers?) so I improvised, quite well I might add, about Thanksgiving (since it's next week, unlike Halloween which was a month ago).

So we finish the class, the bell rings, and I think Hallelujah! no more of that nonsense (unless by some strange act of God my lesson enters the semifinals and then we have to do it again in front of judges), but then Ms Park comes and says, "I think we will have to do it again, the camera wasn't working." I smile, everyone knows I am very diplomatic, and say, "sure, no problem, I love this lesson, let's do it everyday forever." I was somewhat prepared for this eventuality because the same thing happened to Jordan, but I think to myself, at least we'll be taping again with a different class so it's not so boring that the students will likely jump out the window. But later I discover, for reasons unknown to me, we are filming with the same class on the same day during last period (to happen in about an hour). And then I begin to suspect that the camera was working fine, Ms Park just didn't like my ad lib about Thanksgiving (the only part during which the students acknowledged my presence) because she came down and gave me some pointers. "Talk slowly, make it go longer until the bell rings." Sure, right after I jump out the window with the students.

In the midst of this drama I've also been trying to discover the dates for my winter break. I knew the school was on vacation from December 25 until February 2, but sometime in there I am supposed to have vacation school. When exactly no one seems to know, although we're trying to make plans so I go and ask Ms Park if she can please find out so I can buy a ferry ticket to Japan. In the course of this discussion I discover that when we come back to school on February 2 we only have school for one week and then we have "spring vacation" which is the rest of February. At this knew piece of knowledge I stare at Ms Park like she has three heads and try and contemplate what good one week in the middle of a two month vacation could possibly do. I still don't know, it boggles the mind.

Although perhaps the most absurd part of the day was when I asked Jordan if absurd started with a 'U' or an 'O.' Why anyone thinks we should all learn English is beyond me.

Graduation Week

Yeah, the Korean school schedule is a bit strange---that week you're working is actually graduation week for the seniors, but the other grades have normal classes. The idea is that if they have the big graduation festivities right at the end of the semester the seniors will skip out on classes, or the younger students won't pay attention, or something. (I can't pretend to fully understand it either.)

I'm really impressed that you assign homework---my schools don't let me! You'll teach several of those "demonstration classes" over the course of the year; don't be surprised when you co-teacher tells you that tomorrow you'll be doing it as some totally different school way out in the countryside. (This can actually be really fun, as long as you remember that This Is Korea and literally anything can happen at any time with no warning whatsoever.) Oh, and no matter who wins the contest, they will send you to the awards ceremony (which will change times and locations at the last minute and without your knowledge) to listen to an hour of speeches in Korean and watch the winners do their thing. But it's a day off of school and a chance to visit a new place, so it's not that bad...


Someone needs to post comments on this blog besides me. My comments are absurdly long and uninteresting.

Homework? not really

So the thing with the homework is that I'm not allowed to assign homework, but the rules for the contest said I should, so I assigned fictional homework that the students won't do and that they know they won't do when I assign it.

as to the other thing

Just because everyone else is lame and doesn't comment, doesn't mean you should join them. Who knows, we may only talk to people in the future who have commented at least 100 times on our blog. You never know, we have crazy tendencies. So to be safe, I would keep up the comments, the longer the better.

Besides, we like to feel loved, and commenting is a good way of showing that you care.

Ahhh, my students must think

Ahhh, my students must think they are in Korea as I assign homework and they don't do it. Thus, they must think that either the homework or I am fictional.
I laughed and laughed while I read this post. Thanks for the GREAT belly laugh!

I am glad

I am glad that someone can find amusement in my difficulties.  Actually, the class turned out to be not that bad as I did end up filming in a different class then in the morning.  Of course, this was the wild class and I was a little worried we were going to have to film again because Ms Park had to give them a lecture halfway through, but apparently everything is ok.  Likely she will be editing that part out.

from Wadi Natrun

Hey (from Wadi Natrun, in the Egyptian desert between Cairo & Alex),

I write and comment, too! I must write the most next to Matthew... And I will keep writing, and I will post over 100 times (maybe 1000), so I hope you will keep talking to me in the future... :-)

You, Marisa, will probably become a star foreign teacher who gets to go all over Korea doing your Halloween class. In fact, they may in the future make all English classes in Korea watch your Halloween class every Halloween. You may become a Korean cultural icon.

So, what did Jordan videotape? Something interesting, I hope.