Monday, April 4, 2011

March Madness

March literally was the month of madness for me, that is why I waited until now to post anything. I needed time to reflect back on the entire month. I did not want to irrationally post something online, publicly.

March 2: First day of the new school year.

That means:
  • New teachers (co-teacher)
  • New students (faces and personalities)
  • Expect the unexpected (typical)

The Teachers.

As stated above, new teachers have arrived, including my new English co-teacher. So far in our relationship, we're not progressing as far as my relationship I had with my previous co-teacher, but we've come farther than I would have guessed three-weeks ago. This is her first year teaching English, ever. The 12-other-years were spent in Busan as a classroom teacher. Not to mention she's old enough to be my mother, I quote her. (The differences between her and I: Language, Experience, City vs. Rural, Teaching Methods, and Age.)

After graduating, I already expected myself to be working alongside people who are my parents' age or from a different generation than I am, therefore I wasn't going to be bitter about it. I even took a university course on "generation gaps in the workplace", but the information finally sunk in. My cultural courses during my Yonsei days finally sunk in as well. But the bitterness still got to me.

The students.

Between two public elementary schools, I teach to a total of 100 students. That's nothing compared to what other Native English Teachers, they have 300-600 students. I can recognize each individuals' face and their English name. Then, 20 sixth graders graduate and are replaced with 25 first graders. (That doesn't replace the horrible 4th now 5th graders. There's only one girl in that class, if there were at least 4 more, their aggression would settle down, a bit.) In less than a week between the last day of school and the first day of school, I completely forgot how to teach these students, or else they simply became different little people. How the hell did I go through the previous three months of teaching Winter+Spring Camps and Care Classes?? My honeymoon phase in Korea came to a complete halt on the first day of English class.

Here's my theory why there's just so much chaos:

My co-teacher has many resources to utilize in order to teach English (a teacher's textbook, a CD-ROM, and a native English speaker - me) which is overwhelming to her.

The students have too much to focus on in order to learn English (a Korean English teacher, a textbook, a TV screen, and a native English speaker - me) which is distracting to them.

What's going to solve the problem? I'm still searching for a solution.


March = Birthdays
  • 12th - My bratty sister, Vanna, turns 16.
  • 24th - My best friend, Marny, celebrates her 22.
  • 29th - My best friend, Kalia, celebrates her 22.
Just for randomness, March is also:
  • 13th - Daylights Savings Day, SPRING FORWARD, however it is not recognized in South Korea.
  • 14th - White Day, If a guy received chocolates from a girl on Chocolate Day, February 14th (Valentine's Day), he must reciprocate his feelings for her the next month by presenting her with white chocolate or something white. I didn't get anything, but I didn't give anything either.
That is why I am now posting about March. Because it was literally madness.

But, I also danced away in Hongdae.

Silent Disco Party, Hongdae, Seoul

Bare Korean Essentials

Living in Korea would not be the same if I did not have these basic necessities to begin with. My apartment would be a hot mess.

In no special order, The List:

A drying rack: A typical Korean home will not be equipped with a dryer, which usually comes along with a washer. So, better hope the home is equipped with a drying rack.

Those are my clothes.

A bottle of fabric softener: Without it, your clothes will end up smelling like mildew after air-drying.

I did not pack this. I bought it at E-Mart for a reasonable price.

A pair of shower shoes: A typical Korean home does not have a big huge bathtub or shower stall, the bathroom itself is the shower stall. So when you only need to use the toilet, your floor will still be wet from the shower you took an hour ago.

This really is my bathroom floor.

A body scrubber: From the long day work and all you want to do is shower and rest, this thing will literally wipe all the dirt off your shoulders. Sure, you've got a loofah, so? Don't forget to take it with you to the sauna/spa.

Apricot Scrub doesn't compare.

A pair of indoor shoes: A typical Korean home will have a pair for each member and a few extra for guests. I adapted the idea, because I have a pair of indoor shoes at school too, they're knock-off Crocs though.

I enjoy standing out in everywhere I am.

An internet router: My computer is finally detached from it's enormously long LAN wire. I can finally see my floor! Not to mention, I can use my Android on wi-fi to save energy.

Before: LAN

After: Wi-Fi

An American plug adapter and an extended 3-way plug socket: This isn't much of a "Korean" necessity, but if a Korean were to import western electronics, they would need these. But I need them especially.

A pair of noise-cancelling headphones: A Korean city is typically loud from various things: stores blasting K-Pop tunes, saleswomen handing you their newest BB Cream, salesmen offering you the newest "handphone", and ajummas offering you kimchi. Seriously, it's AT you. Unless you enjoy the city's soundtrack, these will come in handy when everything gets overwhelming.

Three things are always with me: headphones, glasses, and keys.

What are your recommendations?