Monday, May 31, 2010
Hey. It's Monday. I just watched Eurovision. So...I'm kind of busy now. I have to catch up on all of my actual work that I didn't do today. But...before I do any of that shit...I'm gonna bust out with some bloggy chit chat with you...my favourite little blog fans. Yeah. i just condescended you. Speaking of which...I have an Open Class this Friday. My Co-Ordinator has made a lesson plan. I made one...but she spoke to a 'friend' who said that we needed certain things in our lesson plan for an Open Class. My lesson plan lacked these essential elements. I can't imagine what they were. She's given me the update and it's similar except for a wee gag about me being late. It's a bit odd. The game seems complicated as well. She sent me an instand message this morning -
"Please remember ....
June.04 (Friday) 13:10 (Open class)"
I was pretty pissed off to be honest. I mean...it's Monday...our Open Class is on Friday...so I sent her this message -
"Jinny...I'm not some sort of retard that I would forget that I have an Open Class on Friday! I'm in my third year of being a teacher at Shin Song...I might forget small things sometimes...but I do care about my job more than to forget Open Class! It's a little condescending to send me a reminder about the Open Class like that. It suggests a certain lack of faith."
Fuck it. Why beat around the bush? Why not just be straight about it? I think that she managed to tap into a part of me that's already kind of pissy with her. I mean...she kind of took the racist music teacher's side of the whole racial vilification issue...and she has never called my apartment owner about a few problems I've had with the apartment...and I kind of resent that I have to do my Open Class with her (a mother...not a teacher) while other people get the assitance of a trained and qualified teaching professional.
She replied -
"I'm sorry if you are uncomfortable....
That's just because I'm very worry about the open class... Please understand me...
I went and saw her after. She told me she translated the message to the Vice Principal and asked him for advice. He told her 'not to make Burndog Teacher angry, he is a real teacher, and probably feels angry that you act like one.' I think that his response made her feel a little worse rather than better. But...that's what happens when you snitch. I told her to chill. It's all cool. Everything's gonna be gravy. No doubt. I don't believe that. I think that we're all set for the single most fucked up Open Class in the history of education...but...fuck it! We're all adults. Let's at least head out swinging.
Which reminds of a near fight yesterday. I was with the Bird at a cafe near Suwon station "Caffe Benne" and this dude comes in...stinking of piss and booze...and started hassling these young Birds for money. Now I'm a live and let live kinda fella...but he started to verbal the poor little bird who worked there as well...so i suggested to The Bird that I might intervene. She said yes...which means that it's not a terrible idea...so I steamed in.
"YA, naga juseyo," I helpfully offered. This means..."Hey, get out please." Then i threw in a "Kaja" (let's go) for good measure. The bloke turns and looks at me. He's maybe 40, his face looks worn and he has some blood already on his forehead. I didn't realise how fucked up he was when I got up...this was starting to feel like a mistake. I mean, a dude who's that far gone...there's nowhere to fall...they'll fight until one of you is dead...it's a fair bet. That's why you're better off with someone like Jimi's mate Zappa. He dresses in a moderately foppish (a man with a better fashion eye than mine, might suggest the word stylish ahead of foppish) manner. You ken that if things get out of hand, he won't want to get a tear in his $120 t-shirt. This boys entire wardrobe would have given me $110 in change...and the blood on the brow suggested that he didn't give much of a fuck about how his face looked. So...I got ready to take this where it had go...when the dude started speaking to me in mumble...and then stepped forward and raised his arms as though he was some sort of Scooby Doo monster. He lurched at me with his arms above his head...coming closer, but in not so dangerous slow motion. I took a quick step backwards. He stopped...confused by the fact that I moved faster than a turtle. The little shop bird came over and told him to leave again. This time...confused (I wager by the incredible speed of my 'actual time' movements) he wandered back into the street. Weird shit. If he'd just come up and asked for a bit of poppy, I would have given him some...but the fact that he was just hassling the young birds...and being pretty abusive and rude...meant that I couldn't spare digger a dollar. Sad times.
Now...I have other shit to write about...but time's not on my side. So it's all for another day. I will leave you with this...another Korean World Cup song...but this time....Ice Skating Queen Kim Yuna gets her sing on. Enjoy or endure.
Friday, May 28, 2010
But...not today! That's the old Burndog. The Burndog that will be the new Burndog on Monday. Yes Sir! I'm in fine feckle today! I woke up a little late. It was one of those mornings where you wake up with a morning glory and a smile...so you ken that it's gonna be a good day (unless you stand up too quickly in your tiny Korean apartment and bang your morning glory on the corner of your desk). I got to school early (though I woke up late) which is a miracle. I went to my classroom...sat down and started making a PPT. Now...this morning was the morning of the Grade 6 Speech contest. So I talked my way out of first period (that class is a lesson ahead...so I suggested that we cancel class...to slow down) and second period was the speech contest. So...in first period...I made a powerpoint for my Grade 6 classes. The lesson is 'May I Help You?', a lesson for those students who have a bright future in retail. So I made a "Price Is Right' Powerpoint. I make one every year. Why? Because it's good to make the products cool, fun things or things that are popular NOW. Things that the kids will hate in a year.
The speech contest was good. A little fat boy Robbie...who wins every year...will probably win again this year. I enjoyed his speech. He should win. But...there's a dark horse. One of the girls pulled out a brilliant speech. So it's neck and neck...and the Korean teachers are excited...but too scared to make a decision. They wanted me to decide. I said that it was too close to call on strictly English grounds...so they would have to decide based on Korean reasons. They liked that. One of the teachers wasn't happy. Se wanted the speech where the boy outlined the glory of Korea to win. I explained that the fact that he provided a basic outline of Korea and Koreans, but somehow didn't mention that there is a North and a South Korea...made most of his speech weird. Blanket statements about population numbers, religion and politics...supported by maps showing one Korea (not two)....suggest that if a war does start...this kid's gonna need a long history lesson to work out how it's all coming from Korea.
So...after the speech contest...the Grade 6 teachers told me that they have decided to cancel English today. They told me that they explained it to me yesterday. They didn't. I don't mind though. i have a blog to write, and online poker to play. I also have 60 lesson plans to conjure, and an open class to prepare. So...I can use the extra time.
Just a short blog today. While I'm happy.
The weekend has some promise. A quiet Friday night (I shall watch the footy), watching the cats v demons on Saturday afternoon (there was some idea of me attending school...but they worked outa way to do it all without me), dinner with the Bear on Saturday, and then time with the Bird on Sunday. Her friend has opened a Wii Cafe in Suwon...so we will go and play Wii...and maybe we will also go with Joe to watch a movie. A nice weekend. Perfect for someone like me. A little bit of socialising...some sport...a movie or three...some vidoe games...and some birding. Perfect!
I hope that you have a lovely weekend too. Here's a video my students like.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I'm feeling stressed. I'm in a frustrating position. I went to an Open Class yesterday. It was alright. A Korean teacher and an American teacher just banging out 40 minutes of lesson time. Nae bother. My Open Class is next Friday. I can't be arsed. The teacher at the school that I visited yesterday...her co-teacher was a TEACHER. My co-teacher for my open class is my co-ordinator. What's the fucking difference? Well....my foul mouthed young friend...the difference is that my co-ordinator is new to this whole teaching thing...she hasn't completed an education degree or any of that shit...and she has no idea how to plan the open class. The last two years, I worked with Sun Hee...who planned the open class lesson...told me what I should do...and then...BANG...we had a class. Sure, she made me rehearse the open class 10 or 20 times...sure, she was angry when I forgot my lines and her script generally had me in the role of idiot to her super teacher....BUT...she is a teacher. her lesson worked...and she taught it well. My new co-ordinator...hasn't planned the lesson. She wants me to plan it. I told her to plan it...that they want a more Korean style lesson than what I deliver (which is true...they don't want my kind of lesson...lots of jokes...a funny video or two...a killer powerpoint game). They want those weird games where the children throw a ball at each other, or ask each other questions while they wander about with picture cards. I like all of that shit....but I don't teach that way. it doesn't suit my style of teaching.
Also, the Ticos came to me yesterday afternoon. There is an open class for the special class on the 16th of June. She needs those 60 lesson plans by then. I told her to get fucked. I threw a pen at her and told her that I would complete the lesson plans when satan ice skated to work. I told her that I have enough shit on my plate without trying to meet her crazy fucking demands. Then I pushed her out of the window. Of course...I did nothing of the sort. I told her that I am very busy and stressed because of the open class next week...but...I will do my best. She liked that...and let me be. But...she's gonna be unhappy when I don't have anything to hand her next week. So...I'm prinitng up all of my old camp lesson plans...and any other old lesson plans that I've made...I'll re-badge them and give them to her. I'm not sure that there'll be more than twenty or thirty...but it should be enough to show some sort of effort. I can't be bothered though. I never asked for this special class. It has been given to me...with an assortment of shit that I didn't ask for as well. It's a fucking disaster. With all of the kids that the Principal added in...who speak English about as well as I speak Korean...it's a fucking disaster. Try planning six great lessons a week for students whose English level goes from not knowing a word, up to near native levels. It's difficult. It's time consuming. It's fucked in the head. I do it. But I'm not going to wear a whole heap of extra work just for the glory of the school. Piss off!!!
Grade 4 today. One class to go...and then the special class this arvo. My classes have been a treat today. I've had a lot of fun. The kids have had a lot of fun. Everyone's having a lot of fun! Best case scenario really! I love it! Having said that...I'm not as motivated at the moment as I usually am. i need a shot in the arm...something to motivate me again. I need proper support I guess...not just some well intentioned parent mascerading as my co-ordinator.
Oh well...now for some shit that my kids like...keyboard cat!
Here's Superjunior's latest song...cashing in on World Cup fever...Victory Korea!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Well...hello there! It's so nice to see you! What have you been up to? Really? Amazing! Me? Oh...not much really...but...sit down...I'll update you. I have been slowly driven mad by the beating of the rain. But why talk of such things? The sun shines and I feel well. Don't I? Maybe.
I actually feel a touch homesick. Which is why I went to the Herald-Sun website today. It's a surefire cure for homesickness. Once you get through the stories about a high profile footballer telling footballers to stay in the closet, some ignorant bogan woman adding the letter y to make her kids names 'different, a 'secret report' on 'Asian Gangs' in Melbourne's CBD, a plea to save a 'hero dog', a racist story sterotyping 'non anglo' students and parents, and finally an attempt to make people feel sorry for parking inspectors...well...you just don't feel quite so homesick anymore. No wonder my old mate Kingy drinks so much piss every day. Fucking hell! It's difficult to pick which story is the worst. The fact that football fans are still so homophobic that they couldn't cope with one of their 'heroes' being gay...the bogyn wyth hyr addyng y to hyr kyds namys...the 'secret report' which is just another one of those articles where they portray these machete wielding asian gangs...the words 'hero dog'...the story about Asians working harder than anglos because they have a greater work ethic and will to succeed...or the fact that I'm suposed to have a heavy heart for the poor old parking inspectors? Fucking hell!
So...I don't feel homesick now.
I went to Kyung Hee University last night. There was a 'hot rumour' that 2AM and Lee Hyori would be playing there. Hyori did a graduate diploma at Kyung Hee...and she performed there last year with Rain (who studied music and dance at Kyung Hee)...but I missed it. I am not sure that she would perform two years in a row...but she does have a new single or two to sell...and students aren't the worst market to target. So...I wandered about...down to the sports field...over the little mountain...and around the plaza in front of the library. There were two large stages set up on campus...and one small one. One of the large stages was in the middle of the running track...and there was a huge crowd there. The other stage was a little larger...but there were only a couple of hundred people milling about. So...we (I was with Meg by this stage (pun intended)) walked back over the little mountain...and staked out the first stage. When we got there, some K-Pop girl group were singing. I knew the song (can't remember it now) but not the group. The local lads were going crazy and had that retard strong sex shine in their eyes. Terribly endearing stuff. The hot group whose name and song I don't know finished up...and the whole event was over. No Hyori ㅠ.ㅠ
So...I'll go back tonight. The rumours were Wednesday or Thursday. Maybe I'll se Hyori and 2AM...maybe I won't. I don't mind. I've always liked University campuses, especially during festivals and things...so I won't complain if I walk around for an hour or two and don't see anything.
That's all for today. It's a long weekend here...so no blog tomorrow!
Have a lovely Burnariffic weekend my dear Burnfans!
Here are four videos for you....
This first one is an old Ovaltine commercial...it's awesome!
Next...it's The Wondergirls...they're back!! Here's their new song...in Korean...and English...tell me what you think.
Finally...this...which used to play on the tv's in the subway...and the Bird used to smack me around for staring at it with my jaw touching the ground!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I'm in a right old fucking mood today...but I still want to give you fuckers something to read. I was racially vilified by the music teacher on my way into school this morning...in front of some of my students. I told her to go and get fucked. It's a story for another day really....so today I'm going to turn off my brain and offer up some 'shit my kids wrote'. Not my real kids. My students. I'm lucky enough to not be a parent. I know...the blessings are counted daily. Shortly after our camp, I asked my Grade 6 students to write three things they liked and three things that they didn't like about camp. Here are three student's answers (I'm saving these up for rainy days...so expect more) -
1. The part I liked at school camp.
1)Recreation - It was good - but actually my imagine was better.
2)At bus - we played a lot.
3)Movies - I love to watch movies.
2. The part that I hated at school camp.
1)The food - it was my first time to realize that my school lunch was excellent.
2)The room - The room was 30 degree celsius! How can human sleep!
3)Teacher's Yelling - Teacher yelled so much. It irritated me.
I like play so Zombie play and game. It'a fun.
I hate rice that too bad Yack! Sad.
*Three things that I liked about the camp*
1. First, I liked recreation. I have a great time during recreation.
2. Second, I liked eat snack. I used supermarket for many times.
3. Third, I liked spending time with my friends.
*Three things that I hated about the camp*
1. First, I hated the meal. It was not yucky, but do not suit my flavor.
2. Second, I hated the teachers. They were scary, though sometimes they were fun.
3. Third, I hated traveling. I went there before with my family, so it was not fun and not new.
Second thing I hated was another teahcer who's really rude and bad. It was my first trip and I hated it.
Lastly, I just hated where we slept. We can't actually call it a hotel. It was really hot. There was no free time, no fun playing also.
Next thing is that I slept with my friends! I never did that in my life.
Third thing I liked is that we had a group. We played by the group, worked, and did a lot of fun things.
Monday, May 17, 2010
There are many signs of spring. Many. The weather is warm. People are happy. There are flowers. The mountains are all green again. These are the un-cunty signs of spring. But...there are also cunty signs of spring. I know it's spring when bees start flying into my classroom again. Oh how I've missed them! I know it's spring because the empty weekend subways are full again. I know it's spring because being on a bus is like being in a sauna. These are the cunty signs of spring. There are other signs...both cunty and un-cunty...but these were the few that I wanted to focus on today.
Well...I guess you didn't come here to listen to fat man moan on about his weekend did you? No. You didn't. You came to hear salacious tales of birding, football, drinking and fights!! Wa hey! Unfortunately...none of that shit went down on the weekend. It was a quiet one. Again. I booked my accommodation for my holiday in August. I watched a bit of football (Pies v Dockers, Lions v Cats). I saw the Bird for a bit of Saturday afternoon wandering about. I also saw a very boring Korea v Ecuador game. I'm not sure why I found it boring. I was pretty tired. It just felt like I was watching a game on the t.v...and I tried to care...but couldn't. There was a disconnect. I feel that way about my Korean life sometimes too. Like I'm in it but not participating fully. I need to get out and about a bit more again...it's the only response.
Just a short entry today because I'm busy.
Tomorrow I'll try and type up or two of my Teacher's Day letters. They're always a fun read.
Here's a video that my Grade 6 boyslove...(the key is to download the file using a youtube downloader...and then cut the start and the ending a little).
Here's the extended verison...but I've never shown them this one.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Yes. Today is a soccer day! I used to call them football days...but my students got confused. Why? I don't know. So I guess the fact that their confusion confused me...made me just give in to the whole 'soccer' thing. Which is O.K. I can deal with that. I've faced bigger problems than that. Maybe. I love a good soccer day. The sun is shining, the chickens are crowing (no shit...my Principal went and got some chickens), and the children are happy! It's a teacher's dream! Well...it's supposed to be. It was for the first two lessons. In the third lesson some Grade 4 boys swore at my Grade 6 boys and kicked their ball. I didn't notice. i was over near the girls playing pass the ball with the retarded kid. Can I say that? Retarded kid? Is that O.K? It's nicer than what the Korean teacher calls him. So...me and the retarded kid were passing the ball about and one of my boy comes over, 'Mathew Teacher, we have a problem.'
Now...I don't play competitive football against my students. My ego is rampant enough without me pretending that I am Ronaldo and dribbling the ball past a bunch of little kids...but...when a team goes two goals down on a soccer day, they can call me to be their goalkeeper until the scores are level again. So I assumed that the kid wanted me to be goalkeeper (last I heard the score was 4-3).
'No worries, I'll be goalkeeper now.' I replied, happy to be able to something a little more fun than pass the ball to a kid...have him slam it in any direction he please...then I would waddle after the ball...and repeat.
'No. Teacher. They kick our ball.' He said earnestly, and in a way that made me assume that some of the boys from the High School next door had leapt the fence and started shit like they did last month. But...no...looking up, all I could see was a pack of 4th grade boys, jauntily playing their football...meanwhile...the 6th grade booys are moodily ambling off the pitch and sitting in the shade. What the fuck? Long story less long...they were both playing soccer on the same pitch (quite common here...sometimes up to three classes might try and play at the same time) and one of the little boys kicked the grade 6 ball...and then said about seven swear words. My boys...not wanting to get in trouble...walked off the pitch. I was impressed. When I was in Grade 6...I would have smacked the lippy little cunt square in the gob...but these boys all walked away. Not a single hot head amongst the fourteen of them. Impressive shit.
So...what to do? These kids are all my students. I can't throw one group under the bus just to make the other feel better. So I stopped the Grade 4 boys...and called everyone into the centre of the pitch. I told them off. Explained that if they didn't like fun, then we could all go and do an English Test together. Told them that they had let me and their teacher down. I asked the small boys if they were crazy! I told them to look at how much bigger the other boys were, and think about what they say next time. I also asked the Grade 6 boys which one of the little guys had sworn at them. They all pointed out one boy, and said I would talk to his teacher. I had no plan to do that. As far as I was concerned...the matter was over. If I run and talk to the homeroom teacher...I could breed resentment in the little kid. So I let it go. Everyone played nice. Then just as the bell rings...two of the 4th grade boys started fighting!! One of them is the boy that the older kids wanted to see punished. It's win/win. He knew he'd gone too far, so I had to take him to the homeroom teacher...and the big boys will see the homeroom teacher yell at him, and ken that I had their backs. So...I took the two boys who were fighting to their homeroom teacher. I explained that they were fighting...and mentioned that one of them swore at my 6th Grade boys.
She yelled at him as my older boys walked by...smiling.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
My next class comes in six minutes. That gives me time to start this shit up...but probably not time to finish it. Yeah...it takes me more than six minutes to write one of these! Who knew? Not me! The bell just rang. What the fuck? It's 10:35. My next class starts at 10:40. Either the bell is screwed and is moving everything five minutes early...or the bell is screwed and running everything five minutes late. I'm praying that it's late. That way...I can end my class right on time and have five minutes left paddling about with my Grade 4's. I do like Grade 4. They're good kids. Earnest and happy, and eager to win and do well. One of my favourite year levels. I like every year level...but not every class. It's funny...last year my shit classes were 4-1, 5-2, and 5-4. This year...4-1, 5-2, and 5-4. Same home room teachers. Same result. I'm not stunned. 4-1 is the teacher who tells her students how much she hates English...how she doesn't like Mathew Teacher...how they don't have to do their English work if they don't want to. 5-2 is the guy who disrupts my class by mocking the voices in the videos, or yelling over the top of me, or hugging and kissing the girls and making them scream while I am teaching. 5-4 is an insane woman who is so nervous and jittery and random that her students don't respect her...so they don't behave properly. It's sad. But she does that shit to herself! She needs to harden the fuck up and be their teacher...instead of simpering about and begging them to love her...it makes me sick.
Fuck...the bell just went again...right on time. 10:40. So 4-3 will be here any minute. She doesn't really love me either...she's skipped out on class three times already. But at least she has the common decency to be a little bit late every week. Which I appreciate. I hate it when the kids arrive early...and I have to entertain them between classes.
10:43...still not here.
10:44...I can hear children approaching...I think the good times are over...but NO! They are headed next door to the P.E classroom!!
10:45...silence in the corridor...so far so good. Hopefully another three or four minutes of quality time watching the clock and waiting to type another sentence or two about where my students are.
10:46...still no sound. I really hope that they turn up...I'm not sure if I can keep this up for 40 minutes!
10:47...I can hear noise in the hallway...but it sounds like two or three students...not enough to be my class...surely??
10:48...the noisy girls shuffled off. In two minutes I'm obligated to send an instant message to my co-ordinator to show that I care.
10:49...just got this message -
this time is 4-3 class.
Can we go your classroom ?"
10:50...waiting before I reply...gonna walk downstairs...pretend I was enroute when it arrived. Desperate to entertain myself!!
10:51...the Teacher sent a boy to my class...at the same time she sent the message. He asked if they could come to class now. I am confused...normally they don't wait for permission.
10:52...it's only a matter of time now. I can hear them approaching up the stairs. I held them off for as long as I could...but soon...i shall be overwhelmed by chirpy little kids eager to learn English and enjoy themselves. The horror. The horror.
10:53...actually...they're taking their time! What's wrong with them? Are their legs painted on?
10:54...I'm rather enjoying this mintue by minute account of my time. I might try this on the weekend. 48 hours of minute by minute updates. They are definately coming now....lots of shuffling feet in the hallway.
11:22...That was painless. I love that class...good kids...barrels of fun...good times all round.
Now...it's time for 4-4. One of my favourite classes of all time...of all time. Great teacher too. I was downstairs a minute ago and tld her not to hurry to class...she said she will wait ten minutes. Great teacher.
The reason why I told her not to hurry was because I had to meet with my co-ordinator about my end of year money. It's a real hassle to organise everything...but the school is due to pay me for my airfare home and my end of year bonus (one month's salary). It's the kind of thing that only gets done through constant hassling of your co-teacher...which makes a fella feel like a real arsehole.
12:13...lunch time. It's Thursday. Lunch will be a horrible soup, rice, kimchi, and some sort of other thing. The other thing is what makes or breaks a Thursday lunch. I'm hoping for some kind of meat. But let's be reasonable...it's probably going to be some sort of vegetable covered in enough spice to burn down an apartment building. I'll eat it. Beggars and choosers hey?
12:33...well...I was wrong. Lunch was a horrible soup, rice, kimchi, tofu and orange slices. It wasn't great...but it wasn't awful. Which is exactly how it is four days out of five here.
Well, it's time for me to prep my Special Class...and as much as you'd all appreciate a minute-by-minute account of a fat man making a jeopardy powerpoint....this will be where I let you jump off this hell train. It's been real nice chatting with you all.
I hope you're keeping well. Here's that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang video I promised...but I should warn you...the public broadcaster has banned it. Why? Why was it banned? Was it because it was deemed too fruity for youngsters? Maybe it's too overtly sexual? No. It has been banned because Hyori and her dancers clearly 'vilolate road traffic regulations.' That's right. Hyori drives a truck without a seatbelt on...and dances on top of buses...and also dances on the road. Clearly no respect for the law that Hyori bird. So...if you're the type of punter who can't watch an attractive bird violate the road laws of a nation state without getting a bit excitable and lawless...then I suggest you don't bother watching it. Just in case.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I have sent my Special Class kiddies out on a Scavenger Hunt. Nothing too complicated. Just a basic list of things in the school that they should find. They enjoy it. In fact they absolutely love it. They get to run about the school for an hour or so with their chums. I love it because I get an empty classroom. It's a good exercise though.
Here's the list.
You must collect as many of the following as possible. The team that collects the most, wins 5 five points!!! (You MUST find these things...OUTSIDE the English Room)
A paper clip
A red pen
Something that says 'made in china'
A hair tie
A white shoe
A small rock
A paper airplane
An oragami example
A picture of mickey mouse
A tree leaf
English text book
Korean text book
A map of the world
A colour drawing of the Australian Flag
A cherry blossom.
A photograph of a teacher.
It's a good list. If they seriously go about it they can finish in ten minutes or so...but they ken the score...so they fluff about for at least an hour. It makes for a nice afternoon. The Girl Scouts are cooking across the hall...rameon and ddok...and they keep bringing me samples. It's sweet...but it's not my kind of food...so I keep handing it out to my Special Class kids when they drop back into the English Room. It works well.
So...no complaints today. A beautiful sunny day. I'm about to book my ticket for my August home visit. One week in the Philippines followed by two weeks at home...looking forward to it...even if it does mean that I'll leave on the morning of the Geelong Carlton game. I've never travelled anywhere before (except for Korea of course) so I am a little bit nervous...but it will be nice to spend a week reading books and sipping booze on a beach. I'm madferit.
Now...for all of you K-Pop fans...here's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!!!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I love my Grade 5 students. I really do. They're why I stayed at my school one more year. Because I want to see those little fuckers hit Grade 6. I'm worried that with my high level of sentimentality I might stay for another year just to see them graduate. The Bird suggested that she wouldn't be against it. We were wandering about locally, and some of my students came running up. Needless to say there was some chit chat and joking....and the Bird got all sentimental and suggested that I should stay one more year because 'the children love you'.
I think love is a strong word anyway. My students respect me. Some of them love me. Some of them love me in a way that I find a touch disturbing. They're generally good kids, and now that I've started with them in our third year together...I have to say that I couldn't imagine teaching any other kids. It would be...weird. I'm unlucky. I work at a school with a weird, isolating, fucked up system....but...I am also lucky...because I stayed long enough to make the system work for me rather than against me. Sometimes not throwing in the towel works well.
Speaking of not throwing in the towel...we are still at war!! You may remember from yesterdays blog that I have intiated a blood feud with Sarah from 'Tongue-Tied In Yeongtong'...and today it continues into its second big day. She emailed me yesterday! I know...it's clearly war! Actually...she just wanted a powerpoint that I had mentioned earlier...but that's clearly one of the first signs that the war is escalating! Some of my family members liked her blog. Well...that's fine...it's a line in the sand. Maybe she is a little less wordy...and a lot less sweary...maybe her photos are relevant and not just of attractive women (and Kim Yuna). Maybe. But that doesn't make it right. When she asked for the powerpoint...I told her to fuck off...well...actually I didn't...I sent a link...it's not personal...it's war. Of course I'm gonna send a link. Shit...I might be a bad ass and a soldier...but I'm still a hell of a nice guy!
Now...on to the real world. Mrs Park cancelled on last nights adjumma class...which is becoming a problem. She keeps changing the schedule. Which doesn't suit me. I'm off to the football tonight...so I can't do a two hour class...and I'm meeting the Bear for coffee on Wednesday so I can't change it to two one and a half hour classes. It's just not convenient. We have a schedule...it should be adhered to. But...what the fuck can you do about it? Nothing. Truth be told, I was happy for the extra rest time yesterday, so I didn't fight it one bit. I just wanted to take it easy. Which I did. I went home and listened to some of the Blues v Saints game...then had some bolognese at a local pasta gaff (quite tasty too)...then a wee roti bun from Roti Boy (the girl who works there is very cute and speaks perfect English...I hadn't been before....I will go again! Oh...and if the Bird reads this...that's a joke :-)...then off to Ediya for a coffee while I watched The Wire on my iPod. I love The Wire. I want to take it behind a Middle School and get it pregnant (thanks go to Linda Kwak for giving me that line). If you haven't seen it...I suggest that you get on it. It's very good. I won't over state it. I will just say that you might enjoy it...and you might!
So...tonight (after an hour and a half with Mrs Park), it's off to the 'Big Bird' stadium with E and J...to watch Suwon get beaten again (most likely). We aren't playing well. Most people want the manager gone...and I have to say...for once I'm in the majority. The players are decent...so the only avenue for change...must be a change at the top. I guess. I hate calling for a manager to get the arse. It feels weak. But what are you gonna do? Nothing. That's what.
The Bird just called...there's trouble at the old Bird homestead. Two weeks out from the oldest sister's wedding, and the house bound second sister is getting a bit ansty about being asked for cash. I think she kens the score...she's not gonna get married...but she keeps having to fork over poppy for her sister. It must be driving her mad. The Bird's sisters are funny. I've met one and seen photos of two...they look like the Bird...but they look different. That was worth telling wasn't it?
I have to go home and take a shit...so...that'll do for today. Bye bye, have yourself a merry little weekmas.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Hello there. I guess you're curious about the weekend? What happened? Was there madness? Mayhem? Murdahhh? No. No. No. I had a quietish weekend. I am sorry. I spent Friday night at home...alone...watching football. Yes. i know. Boring. Saturday was less boring...in fact it was positively action packed!! I woke up at 8 and went to school to see my dahlink little tackers at the big Sports Day! Amazing stuff. There was dancing, singing, weird pinata things, running, and tears...oh yes there were many tears. They cried if they won, they cried if they lost, they cried when they fell over, they cried when their fathers fell over (seriously). It was a good morning. I missed last years Sports Day because I was moving house...so it was just good fun...well...kind of.
I made a terrible mistake. I visited the Prinicpal in his VIP balcony (like in those Roman movies where the bad guy sits in balcony and screams 'send in the LIONS!!!') and we got talking. He got excited and started calling people over...and before long I was told that he wanted me to stand in the middle of the soccer pitch and explain to everyone the differences between Korean Sports Day and Australian Sports Day. What a terrible idea! Here, in the middle of Mum and Dad racing, dancing, singing, and general merry making...everything would stop for five minutes while I gave a wee lecture about cross cultural differences! Fucking hell!! I said 'Yes Sir,' because I'm not big on suicide. Then i went to my classroom and knocked out a five minute speech that went something like -
I have been asked to talk to you about the differences between Korean and Australian sports day. There are no differences. I know. It's amazing. Oh...wait...there's one difference. Instead of having a fat Australian come out and stand in the middle of the soccer pitch and make some pompous speech about the differences between Australian Sports Day (in the years 1980 - 1986, when he last set foot in an Australian Elementary School) and Korean Sports Day (in the years 2008 - 2010, when he has attended Korean Elementary Schools)...we get a fat Korean bloke to get up and do the reverse speech. It's incredibly insightful. We all listen. He talks. We all care. he talks. We all clap. He finishes. We all wash our faces. It's amazing.
I din't really. No. I'm not stupid. I actually talked about egg and spoon races and grass covered footall grounds. I said that our fathers aren't so competitive as to fall over (a father fell over every single race!), and our mothers aren't as hot as Korean mothers. I didn't say that either. I probably could have. But I didn't. My co-ordinator interpreted everything I said. Which worries me. She could be making up any old shit. Sports Day was rad though...I got to spend some time with a LOT of my former students from the past two years. They were a lot of fun...some were nervous and apologetic, others were really repectful and fawning, and some were just as goofy and fun as they were when they were in Elementary School. It's sweet seeing them though. Next year, I will have students in every year of the local Middle Schools...isn't that a strange thought? I got intel from my kids about the new teacher at one of the local Middle Schools...his name is Rodney. He is quite nice apparently...which is good.
The Bird came and met me at 12:30. We had some lunch. She has had a death in the family and was a bit down. Poor wee thing. It's always difficult. She is a little trooper, but we only had two hours together, and she wasn't very happy about that either.
Following my short time with the Bird, I went to the Baseball with my friend Brian and two of his friends. His friends were both ladies...which seems normal enough to me (most of my best friends are women) but the Bird was worried. How could I do this to her? I explained to her that I invited her to the baseball...she said yes...she then said to get an extra ticket for her friend. So...I told Brian to get me three tickets. He did. Then the Bird cancelled (because it's her sisters wedding in two weeks and there was some sort of family dinner). I asked a few people to come. They couldn't come. I told Brian. He invited people. There's nowt to be concerned about in all of that! She calmed down. The game wasn't very exciting. The underdogs came and scored with ease...the favourites got smashed. Still, it was nice to catch up with the Brianator.
I went home and went to bed.
The Sunday was supposed to be an opportunity to catch up with HCW and the Bear, but the Bird was a bit down on Saturday night, and I sensed that she wanted some alone time...so I reluctantly cancelled on them. When the Bird is down, I have a lot of the responsibility for bringing her back to happy town. If I had taken her out to spend the day around non-Koreans....she would have been realy upset. So we went and watched The Hurt Locker, and walked around a park near her gaff. Then it was time for me to leave...and the Bird got really weird and upset about the fact that she would have to go home. I have never seen her like that...and I was worried. Poor Bird.
So...I went home and went to bed...forgot to ring the Bird and say night night...so she rang me at one in the morning to ask what happened. Bad boy Burndog!
Sleepy as fuck.