Yesterday (Friday) was a pretty average day at work for me. I was really tired, so during my hour break I ran down to Paris Baguette to get coffee of some sort. I chose a caramel macchiato, since I've never had it from there before. Mistake! It was like syrup. Very gross.
A couple of weeks ago Terry and Julia gave me two boxes of cookies to give my students as rewards. I never found an occasion to use them; I find candy much easier to hand out in that way. So, yesterday when a girl in one of my classes complained of being hungry, I grabbed one of the boxes and fed the class. It still amazes me that these kids aren't given time to eat between their activities. It's as if the parents expect kids to have the capacity to work that into their own schedule. Many college students don't even manage to do that. I fed the second box to the class after that one. From about 5:30 on all of the kids complain of hunger. It makes me sad. I fully intend to tell Julia that I need more reward cookies for them.
After work I met Ian at the Dunkin' in Goam-dong. It's not even a block from Ben and Amy's place. We sipped our lattes and shared a undercooked (but still tasty) cranberry scone and stale donut. He told me that Julia and Gene had made up their minds about changing the books for our Essential 1 and 2 classes. Gene had said he was looking through some books, but I didn't know he was in conversations with Julia, yet. The books he showed me were pretty nice. They were mostly conversation starters, which these kids need. But, Ian told me that Gene and Julia had decided to go with the upper level Gogo series instead of what I was shown. The Gogo books are our nemesis. They are dry as a bone and completely redundant. The upper level books suggest we do "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" with our Essential 1 and 2 classes. Keep in mind that these kids learn that song and vocabulary from the ages of 4-7 here. Essential 1 and 2 students are anywhere from 11-14. That's not going to work. I texted Gene and told him tactfully, but honestly that I didn't think that books were challenging enough. Even through test his frustration was evident. He said that the books were simply for speaking practice and to just use them for the next week. "Plus," he added, "it's Julia's choice." I feel pretty bad for him. He's trying to give us a voice in our workplace and in acting as a stepping stone from us to Julia, he is now the one stepped on.
While we were at Dunkin', an older Australian man and his Korean co-teacher came in. His name was John and his co-teacher's name was Ben. They were very nice. We asked questions back and forth about each other's jobs. John's been here not quite two months, but he's taught in the Philippines. Ben asked a lot about Yoon's. He was curious because he was turned down for a job there. He thought it was because his English wasn't good enough. We carefully (avoiding slandering our place of employment) told him that his English was better than most of our Korean English teachers. We told him he probably wasn't hired because he's a man. Yoon's is disproportionately female. Ian is one of 3 or 4 men under their employ (counting total staff, not just teachers) in the entirety of Jecheon. It's very strange. I think it gives the business a better hold in the social hierarchy over their employees. Working for Yoon's is all about submission, so it must be easier to employ women.
As I reported last night, we had a great time with Ben and Amy. We ran down to the little restaurant near their place for a bibimbop dinner. It's the place Ian likes to get gimbap from. The waitress blatantly ignored us with a sour look on her face for over 15 minutes. We finally made eye contact and ordered or simple meals. After dinner we went back to their apartment, made some little Christmas decorations, watch t.v. and chatted. We're heading out to Avatar later this evening. I'll be sure to give you my thoughts. Here's hoping not too much of the movie is in Na'Vi, as it will have Korean subtitles. Keep your fingers crossed.
Enjoy your weekend. Good night!