Monday

Cleaning lady who is also the cooking lady (accidentally!) almost killed me with an apple. I’m allergic to certain fresh fruits. After teaching, my co-teacher, Yoo-teacher, and I were coming out the room when she came up to us with chunks of apples. She shoved one into each of our mouths. I thought it was a potato, but when I realized it wasn’t I had to decided which was worse: having my throat swell or being seen as impolite for taking it out of my mouth. I decided the former was more important and I told Yoo-teacher I was allergic who translated it to Korean and she quickly came and took the apple away from me. It was awkward.

I had to ask Yoo-teacher for help with the scanner. He is nice, but I feel so awkward around him and since he is my co-teacher I feel like he is noticing how terrible I am and probably super sad that I’m nothing like Ree. Plus we are both shy and quiet with each other which ahhh makes me feel so awkward!

The cleaning lady (who I will now call CL) and I had some fun language misunderstandings when she asked me to close the door and tried to show me how to lock it when I leave. Thank goodness I know at least a little Korean or else I would be even more confused than I already am.

Tuesday

I had to play bad cop/teacher and move some students because the boys would not stop talking and were not paying attention. It was my fault because I made a stupid/rookie mistake. At the beginning of each month the kids put their pencil into a tin cup and I pick them out to determine who will sit where. Last week, with the spirit of Christmas running through my veins, I let them choose where they wanted to sit which meant the class was divided in half with the boys on one side and the girls on the other. The girls were fine. It’s the boys who wouldn’t stop chatting. Anyway I changed their seats again using the pencil method. One girl who is usually happy towards me and loves to show me things left the class making sure to give me her best “I’m mad at you for moving me away from my friend” face. Sigh. I can’t win.

One of my classes has 2 girls and 7 boys, but this week so far the girls have been absent. So I have a room full of only boys! Surprising this week they have been under control.

Struggled so much trying to explain to one class the difference between language immersion and language submersion. I gave examples, drew picture on the chalkboard, but they still had the “I don’t get it” look on their face.

Caught a student cheating. I’m sure she was nervous when she saw that I saw her, but I was just as nervous. How do I punish this? Do I talk to her after class? Do I give her an automatic zero? This isn’t real school and I’ve yet to hear about what the punishment for cheating is. Is it as frowned upon as back home? I didn’t know what to do. Finally class was over and this girl and her friend happened to be the last ones about to leave so I asked if she could stay for a bit and her friend stayed too. I said, “You got a 100, but I don’t know if this is real because I saw you looking at your friend’s paper. That’s cheating and that’s not good. You have a brain and you’re smart so you have to use your brain, not your friend’s brain, okay?” She had her head down the whole time and wouldn’t look up at me. I knew she felt bad and I felt bad too because I know the academic pressures here are so overwhelming. So I told her I would take off 10 points from her test and to not cheat again. She was still looking down and then she began to cry. Her friend was comforting her and telling her in Korean that it was okay and not to worry. They finally left and I was glad that situation was over with. Not sure if I did the right or wrong thing, but it’s done with now.

Wednesday

Small talk with Yoo-teacher in the morning. He was trying to be friendly and I was trying, but ugh I think I was also being weird.

I got attacked by the kindergartners. After I finished my second kindergarten class, I was leaving when some students started grabbing onto me. For the past week or so, they have been warming up to me enough that after class they will hold my hand or hug me before I leave. Yesterday a few people who don’t usually grab onto me hugged me. And today it was like an ambush! I felt like I had leeches on me or like I was being consumed by a parasite! I’m trying to leave when one girl holds my hand, another wants to hold onto me. Then one of the boys gives me a hug that ends up with him hugging my feet so I can’t easily walk away. Suddenly another kid is grabbing my other foot and some more kids are hugging and grabbing me. And one boy is pulling out a chair because he wants me to sit down and so he can give me a shoulder massage haha. I didn’t know what to do. Part of me was thinking “aww they like me,” another part of me was thinking “maybe I shouldn’t allow this and should be strict with them” and the last part of me was just plain scared. Eventually Yoo-teacher (who had left the classroom before me) saw me struggling and I assume told the kids to let go of me. I can only imagine what I looked like there with kids all grabbing onto me. I must have given off the imagine that I am not a good leader. Sigh.

Not even 30 minutes later I was attacked again! On the 1st Wednesday of every month there is a birthday party celebration for the kids who have a birthday in that month. So the kids who have a birthday will stand behind a table that is decorated with cake and food and pose for pictures. The birthday kid(s) also gets a crown and birthday wand. All the other kids sit down on the floor and watch. And of course they sing happy birthday. The teachers also ask the kids what they want to be when they grow up. The first boy said he wanted to be a father (awww!) and the second birthday boy said he wanted to be a helicopter (haha okay?). During this time, Kate and I were sitting with the other kids on the floor. So many of them were crowded around us, but around me they seemed much more out of control. Surprisingly the boys were very interested in me today: a few were trying to arm wrestle me, one was super intrigued by my hair, and another sat on my lap and gave me lots of hugs.

I ate lunch with Kate and Yoo-teacher. Even though I’m not an outgoing or super sociable person, I’m so thankful for those who are like Kate who can keep a conversation going with ease. I barely said anything because I was too nervous and was concentrating on not embarrassing myself with my chopstick skills.

I’m more than halfway through the week! Let’s hope I can survive at least till the weekend!

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