Saturday, June 13, 2009

Open Class.. Burn!

Thursday and Friday we had open classes. This is where the parents come in to see what exactly it is we do in class. Except this is bogus because the presence of 8-12 (20 in Heather's case, ew!) parents throws off the teacher, throws off the kids, and really--well, for me at least--makes the entire room a boring ball of nerves. The first day, my co-teacher and the vice director basically told me my class was an epic fail, but after talking to the one person in the school who possesses an ounce of tact, I guess I'm just suited for older students. Friday, I followed her suggestions, and while it wasn't exactly lively (they were so quiet!), it was more successful, proving that I can in fact learn, at least.

It's had me mulling over this whole "take a native speaker and plop them in front of kids and expect good to follow" theory of learning English. On the one hand, there's some value to having someone who understands the grammar and nuances, but we're not educators. We're out-going people (usually) who have adventure on our minds. In my case, I'm lucky that I have a big heart and a severe dedication to avoiding failure; for others, though... well. It's fortunate our contracts only last one year.

As I sit here at the end of my contract, doing the expected (mulling over what's next) I ponder being a teacher in the States. All I can come up with is a "hell no." Eight kids in a class drives me nuts. I have one class of five in the afternoon, it's all I can do not to throw one of them in the trash can. (Thank you, Mr. Klunder, for your shining example in seventh grade!) A class of 35 would pretty much bring me to my demise, I think. I don't think it would matter a brass farthing that I spoke the same language; it might help if I was from another country.

So I return to not thinking about it, and instead focusing on my newest obsession (to help fuel previous obsessions): the iPod Touch. It plays music. It plays video. AND it connects to the Internet! Holy crap! Abby has had one for a month, now, and has Skype on it; as a result, with a headset, she can use it like a phone. Mel got one on Wednesday, and there have been a lot of "green with envy" thoughts floating in my head. Having had it pointed out to me that my income is fairly disposable by my ever-encouraging mother, I looked into it further, and I can use the thing as an e-reader, too. This means I can take Twilight, the movie and books, with me wherever I go.

As I mention this, I consider what it would be like to read my blog from beginning to end. First, there's the discovering Korea. "Oh, wow, this is so cool!" Then there's the broken leg. "Oh, wow, this sucks big time!" Then there's Albert. "Blahlblahboringblah." Then there's Twilight. "Oh man, she's another vampire freak, too."

So let me redeem myself by concluding with news from the taekwondo class. On Thursday, I started to learn my first poomse. Poomses (Poom-says) take basic taekwondo movements and choreograph them into a certain number of movements, and knowing these are how one progresses through the belts (or so my understanding goes). In order to obtain black belt, one must know seven. Now, for poomses I've been sentenced to either watching or practicing the basic movements (though still watching in the mirrors). They never once looked easy. I never thought to myself, "Oh, I can do that." And so Thursday, it came my turn.

I will say this much, I didn't fall over. And for the most part I was pointing in the right direction. (Really, with expectations this low, it's amazing I ever think I fail at something.) We went through the 19 movements, and the instructor was actually pleased with what I had managed to do, which gave me some confidence as we did it again. Enough progress was made for the day, and I got to go back to sitting. Now that I had tried, I knew more of what to watch for, and it was educational and helpful.

Friday, yesterday although it feels like it was much much longer ago than that, was "you've been a smart-mouth, so now you're going to pay" time. I don't think Hannah and I fell into that category, but we were still lumped in for the ten minutes of running around the room. It was just running and counting, but I felt pretty proud as I kept up with the really fast boys for the first five minutes. Then the cramping and the panting started, but I still made it. The best part came after. They pulled out the basket of rainbow-colored, foam-padded... nunchucks. Now, let me remind you, I walk into stuff all of the time. Just in taekwondo I've given myself six bumps on the head by walking into the kicking practice equipment. I broke my leg going down *one* stair. I fall down and trip over literally nothing. And here they are giving me nunchucks; regardless of being padded, this is going to be worth watching.

Within minutes I'd clocked my ear, yelped from the pain of hitting my shoulder, and smacked the back of my head several times. Half of the time I was doubled over in pain. The other half of the time I was doubled over laughing. The instructors did their fair share, too. They had to have known, right? It was lots of fun, though, and now I'm really excited for Phil's birthday present. He had given me a set of wood nunchucks with a Jesus emblem on them. I think they were a gag, but now... "HI-YAH!"


Julie (It is.) said...

ROFL. I'm glad I'm out of reach!

Miss Chris said...

I pointed a teacher friend of mine from college to your blog. I have not seen her for years but she found me on Facebook. Her husband is stationed in Korea now and she has been there for just a few weeks. I knew she woujld enjoy your insights and she told me she spent a couple of hours reading your blog!! Thought you would want to know.