Ian works with a girl named Rahee. She is our age and she is Korean, but she's been living in Spain for the past few years. So, she is almost as alone here as we are. She has few friends and tells Ian that she feels like a foreigner. She smokes, which is completely taboo in Korea. Don't get me wrong, smoking is a popular pastime here, but women aren't supposed to do it in public. In fact, it isn't unlikely for women to get accosted by men (and occasionally assaulted) if they are seen doing so. Every public restroom I enter is filled with cigarette smoke.
Apparently, someone somehow affiliated with Yoon's saw Rahee smoking somewhere public and complained to Julia or David (or someone high up on the chain of command). So, Rahee was lectured for being a bad influence and a general degenerate. At least we can't be lectured without a translation.
She told Ian that one of her friends goes to our gym. Apparently, everyone has been wondering about Ian and my connection. I'm sure Rahee will inform her friend and soon everyone will know through the grapevine.
Ian had a terrible day at work. They're doing construction at the Goam campus, but they're still holding classes. He spent the hole day in paint thinner fumes with David pacing around the building. He gave Ian a mini-tour of the new fascilities and he'll take pictures on Wednesday. His students hardly spoke, probably because their heads were buzzing. We're halfway through our contracts, but it feels like we're back at square one in so many ways.
The construction methods don't look exactly sound according to Ian, either.
One of his students wrote a particularly intellectual piece for his homework. Keep in mind that this was an Essential 2 student (about 13 years old). His assignment was to look at the picture below and write what he thought the groundhog's (or bear, as most students called it) plans were for the day.
The student wrote (slightly altered to be readable):
"Mr. Crazy good morning. Mr. Crazy breakfast is 100 (Korean scribble) eat fish. Mr. Crazy wash the teeth. Mr. Crazy going bingo house. Mr. Crazy said, "Hello bingo. How are you?" Bingo said, "I am so-so." Bingo said, "Your name why crazy?" Mr. Crazy said, "I am crazy said." Bingo said, "Ha ha your 바보 ("babo"= Korean for crazy/stupid). Mr. Crazy is dance. Bingo said, "Your right your 바보 and crazy."
Sometimes it's tough not to get disheartened by students who care so little. It'd be different if they chose to learn English. Instead, the populace is fed that every child's future depends on their English skill level. And maybe it does. But, there's got to be a better way.
If you're interested in a general rundown of South Korea's Educational System, click here. The Grand Narrative blog has some great pieces on Korean sociology and popular culture. Here's his post on the system.
I'd like some feedback on the links I post. Do you guys follow them? Are they helpful or at least interesting?