Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Very Long Day

Today was one of those days that stretches on forever.  I think Wednesdays have a way of doing that.  My schedule today was:  Beginner 2A, Basic 3A, Essential 2D, Essential 2A, Beginner 2C, Essential 2E.  Essential 2 and Beginner 2 are my least favorite lesson plans.  The books simply don't provide you with enough material and considering I'm still a beginner at this whole teaching thing, that's pretty rough.  Beginner 2 is especially bad.  The book we use is called Gogo Loves English and it's quite possibly the most underwhelming text ever written.  Gogo wants us to spend an entire unit on "What's your name?" and "Hello/Goodbye."  No variations of English greetings, just the stilted originals.  It wants us to do this for a whole fifty minutes.  Needless to say, this is the class where I most practice my improvisation skills.  Unfortunately, this is the class that Julia sent her husband to videotape.  If you'll remember, it's also the class that Julia took over a couple of days ago.  She's either obsessed with Beginner 2 or she really thinks I can't teach it.  I also had some difficult students in that class, so we'll see what she says about my teaching.  The icing on the cake however, was the concerned looking parent also watching my class.  Her son was only about six and he wasn't very stoked to leave his mom's side.  Turns out, his English far surpasses the rest of his class (median age of 8, I'd guess).  Once he got going, he was very excited.  It was tough to make sure I was challenging him.  While many of my students stare at me with wonder when I give them an instruction, Charles (the little boy) could think abstractly in English and even answered with "Yes, I did." when I asked him if he had fun in class.  His mother was flattered when I told her how amazing his English is, so hopefully she was at least a little impressed with my class.

I have to take a cab home from Ha So.  I'm still irritated because we were told that we'd be within walking distance from our schools and we most definitely are not.  Instead, I'm left spending almost 10,000 ($7.50) won a week on cab fare and between Ian and I, about 9,000 ($6.50) won on bus fare.  May not seem like much, but as broke as we are, it's frustrating.  When I got in my cab tonight, the driver gave me a butterscotch.  His driving was terrible.  In Korea the "rules of the road" are more like passive suggestions.  It's all offensive driving here.  I wouldn't get behind the wheel even if I had a car.  My driver never actually drove in a lane and swerved around imaginary objects in the road.  Think "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" at Disneyland. That's what the roads are like here.  By the way, that ride ends in hell.  Luckily, ours usually ends at our apartment complex.  Oh, and the bus driver helped me reach Yoon's on Ha So today.  "Bussing" in a foreign country is frightening for the directionally those challenged like myself.

Both Ian and I have been waking up with spider bites for the past couple of nights even though we just washed our sheets.  Mine are super painful.  I had one on my eyebrow (yuck) and one just below my thumb (picture).  It swells periodically and becomes almost unbearable because of the pressure.  It doesn't look like it has an infected core or anything, so I'm guessing the spider wasn't particularly poisonous.
My spider bite.  It's really painful, so I'm crossing my fingers for superpowers.

Random: while I was Skyping with Mom and Rob the other day, Ian saw a family of four piled onto a moped.  I tried to get a picture, but I was too late. 

You can see the tiny scooter, just imagine a whole nuclear family on it.  We've also been seeing four wheelers topped with green Plexiglas roll-cages passing as road worthy vehicles around here.  Ian imagines they get very hot.  As I've said, the roads are terrifying.

Tomorrow (your Wednesday) is Grant's first day of Preschool so he's been on my mind a lot.  I'm so excited for him. I'm hoping to talk to him and wish him luck.  I'm sure it will be so much fun!


  1. Sounds like a stressful day, under the watch of the boss. I am sure you did awesome. Did any of Ian's classes get monitored?
    The taxi rides sound like they are nail biters. Do they drive on the right or left side of the road there?
    Did the bus take you to the wrong school today? And sounds like the taxi took you to the wrong address. Hang in there girl!

  2. No, the bus driver helped me reach Ha So, but on Monday, the cab driver did drop me off a couple of blocks away from the apt, and I don't know enough Korean, so I couldn't correct him.
    Ian has had one of his classes filmed. I hope they don't make us watch them.
    They drive on the right side of the road here, if they choose a lane at all.