Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meeting, resumed

I mentioned yesterday that I had a mini meeting with Julia and Montana during one of my breaks yesterday.  She was unhappy because I skipped a couple of pages in the book (and my students had forgotten the main point of last week's lesson) and Montana softened the blow by jumping in and playing translator, thus shortening our interaction.

Unfortunately, when Ian and I showed up for our meeting this morning, Julia picked up where she left off.  More accurately, when we walked in Julia was watching a video of me teaching the class she had sat in yesterday.  She didn't really say anything to us as we sat down and then she ran out of the room to make a phone call (presumably to Montana, so that she didn't have to interact with us too much).  No good mornings were exchanged.  Instead, I was greeted with instructions to watch the video and find the many mistakes I apparently made and a lecture about my student's inability to recite their addresses during the warm up review.  When I reminded her that I had spent an entire 40 minute lesson teaching them how to say their addresses in English, she told me that my students' forgetfulness was due to my lack of "times enough" spent on the subject.  She reminded me that my student's studying (including any and all work at home) is my responsibility, not theirs.  If they forgot, the problem is with me, not them.

So, by the time Montana got to campus, I was fuming and failing at all attempts to keep myself from arguing.  Just before Montana showed up, Julia came back in from one of her many phone calls and asked us if we thought that she caused us too much stress (with a smirk, just in case we mistook it for a sincere concern).  Actually, what she said at first was "Do you think I am amazing to you because I push to you so much?"  I told her I didn't understand the question.

Montana sat down and Julia spoke to him in Korean for what felt like 10 minutes.  Then they left the room together and only Montana returned.  He told us what she wanted, which was exactly the same thing that she had him tell me yesterday.  Then we chatted about the bizarre world that is Korean culture.  Montana told us that after 10+ years abroad, Korea seems crazy; no one has any manners and the whole nation is obsessed with CCTV and other forms of surveillance.  At Yoon's, when a student arrives the put their thumb on an electronic pad and it sends a text message to their parents telling them where their child is.  Then as they are leaving they put their thumb on the pad again and it tells the parents to expect their child home shortly.  While that's a good use of technology in some safety and parenting aspects, for children who are disallowed any free or play time, it's just another way to be held hostage by a culture that no longer believes in childhoods.

Montana is observing Ian tomorrow; hopefully that means I'll see less of Julia. 

1 comment:

  1. CCTV is such a violation. And you aren't kidding when you say there is very little in the way of childhood there. It may very well come crashing down around them at some point. Hopefully Julia will walk off a cliff sometime soon, since my Voodoo doll likeness is not working real well.