I survived the first week of school! It was a bit touch and go at the start, but thanks be to God for helping me through it. I have four 6th grade ESL students (though one is on a family trip and won’t be in class until the 6th or so… ) and nine seniors for a senior seminar that is attempting to get them ready for American universities. [Before I posted this, another week of school had passed – the school open house and lesson planning took a lot more time than I thought they would.]
The ESL kids are fun – though when I give them a quiz or homework they don’t like, at least one of them says, “Teacher, no.” And I had to make all of the extra thumbtacks disappear because one of the two boys was poking the bulletin board repeatedly with them. That student also likes to lean back in his chair, though after he fell over backwards while doing so, he’s more open to my reminders to keep the chair on the floor! Devotions in the morning are hard – even with my adapting the text for their level, they still look like deer in the headlights. They’re good at math – the first four chapters of their math book breezed by this week (in part because they knew it and also because they didn’t have their matchbooks yet) – their only trouble is the English math vocabulary. I’ve been having them writing every day and on Friday we had a debate on “Are girls better than boys?” – this topic got them talking a lot in English, which was a blessing.
The seniors have been working on resumes – their final draft is due on Tuesday. And once that is done, we’ll do a reflective essay and hopefully I’ll have more to ramble about for them. It is and isn’t a blessing to not have a textbook.
Speaking of books… I just finished reading No Future Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu. It’s one of those “light reading” books – you know, the ones about all of the horrible things people do to each other interspersed with moments of beauty and hope. So authors like JM Coetzee, Dostoyevsky, and the like. I’ll be working on a brief book review at some point (since do I recommend the book).
In addition to teaching, I now know what cattle must feel like when they are herded in a tightly packed bunch down narrow corridors into confined cattle cars. That’s right, I survived the Seoul subway rush. It’s a Zerg rush, except instead of being swarmed by creatures intent on devouring you, you are swarmed by people intent on wedging into the spots available (ahh… unit blocking). It gets tiring standing up for hours, though there is enough room to read and it would have been harder to get off if I had been sitting.
It was a short walk to my destination once I got off the subway. I had a map pulled up on my wife and I’s iPad beforehand (on which I also had a Seoul subway app, so that I knew when to switch lines), so that when I didn’t have WiFi, I could still use the map. It all worked rather well, so no one need worry about us getting lost on our adventures.
Once I arrived, though, I became somewhat confused. This is because, despite this sign, there was no indication about where you were supposed to go. And there were kids playing in a basketball court underneath part of the building (since it is attached to a school). I milled about for a few minutes until an American wandered by. He slipped under the cable over the entrance into the grounds. I asked him if there was a game and he said he thought so (there was a board on the wall for posting matches, but nothing was posted for today…), so I followed him in. We went through an open door on the other side of the basketball court and climbed up a few flights of stairs. One of the landings opened into a small anteroom filled with Starcraft Cheerfuls, pictures of players, and a table selling GSL t-shirts. I had come to the right place.
Off to one side was a doorway leading into the studio:
The boxes to the left of the screen are where the player and observer from one team go during a round of play – the other team has boxes to the right of the screen. The boxes help to muffle the sound of the commentators (I think), and help keep the players from seeing the main screen, where the game is showed to the audience. This was a team match, so the first team to get 4 wins would win. It was fascinating to watch and I’ll go again at some point, since one of my former roommates wants me to collect autographs, but it’s definitely a niche entertainment (especially since the English commentators can’t be heard over the Korean ones!)
But I did get to meet the English commentators, Tasteless and Artosis, and got their autographs on a shirt my former roommate sent with me. They were rather friendly and posed for a picture.
The ride back wasn’t as packed, so I got to sit down! All in all, it was a rather exciting adventure. I should have taken Eruanna or one of my fellow teachers with me, but Eruanna got a lot of good work done while I was out and I didn’t realise until after I got back that one of the teachers was interested in Starcraft.
My apologies for posting this late – teaching is a lot of work, especially when you don’t yet have past lessons from your book(s) to adapt or many activity templates. I’ve made a board game layout that can be adapted to suit different subjects (though I’ve found that it doesn’t work for math terms…), so things are starting to get easier.