Saturday, March 13, 2010

i can't believe it's already been a week since i last updated. time is absolutely flying here as i am running around like a chicken with my head cut off! as i have mentioned earlier, nothing in korea is set in stone and ANYTHING is subject to change. you really can't plan ahead here because something will happen and your plans will be rendered useless. in typical korean form, alot has changed since my last post!

i went into work on monday and found out my schedule at bongmyeong was adjusted. i will not teach grades 3 and 4 with ms. i only teach 5th & 6th graders with ms. cheon. ms. cheon, the headteacher, said that she and the vice-principal discussed it and decided that it would be best that way. i'm really not sure of the reasoning behind that, but since i only teach 5th & 6th graders at sinan, i will never have grades 3 or 4. kind of sad, but grades 5 & 6 are definitely enough to keep me on my toes.

i was still meeting new students this week, so i gave my introduction PPT about a gazillion more times. every class has their own personality, so you never know what kind of reaction you will get. some kids are mildly interested, but don't really care enough to ask any questions at the end when Q&A comes. other classes are about to jump out of their seats with excitement and they have more questions than one period can handle. all of my students are great, though, and i really look forward to this year with them. one of my favorite moments was on friday in a 5th grade class. i had finished my PPT and was taking questions. most kids ask things like "do you play sports? do you like kimchi? what's your favorite animal?" but one of my students raised his hand and said "uhhh...whitney teacher? your thumb is a lot longer than our thumbs...why?!" hahaha. not a question i was prepared for! how do you explain something like that to a 5th grader with an extremely low english level? i threw around a few options in my head, then decided upon "i was just born that way...but really good observation!" in hindsight, i see that this was probably a terribly insufficient answer. this is how people get crazy ideas in their heads. i can picture my students growing up thinking that all korean adoptees have weirdly long thumbs. hahaha. i have a lot left to learn about teaching!

this week was honestly pretty difficult. coming to korea, everyone was preparing me for the worst...saying that koreans' reactions to me might be pretty negative. i have been surprised to find the opposite to be true...all of the koreans have been overly excited and welcoming and helpful! this has turned into a bajillion people (who i feel indebted to for their gracious hospitality) vying for all of my time and attention and energy and affections. it's really draining! everyone has been so wonderful but i've realized that i cannot be best friends with everyone i meet...i feel like i am being pulled in a million different directions at once. this week saw little sleep, alot of running around, severe exhaustion, and serious stress. my schedule for the upcoming week is already full. :( time management has never been a problem for me, as i perfectly demonstrated my senior year of college while i finished out a business degree, ran an apt breezeway as RA, filled the position of senior class president, worked in the office of admissions, and sat on various committees...while on crutches, tending to a broken ankle, and attending physical therapy 3 times a week. this time it's a whole new experience, though, and i have to admit...i'm struggling! i am working hard to find a perfect balance between time with my close friends, time with other American teachers, time with new Korean friends, time for laundry and errands, time for myself...and the list goes on! i have obviously been doing a terrible job of it, as i have been super stressed out trying to figure out my next appointment. please pray that i can get this beast under control...and fast!

i've also come to the conclusion that the vice-principal at one of my schools hates me. he has not made any attempt to say hello to me or even acknowledge my presence at anytime these past 2 weeks, so it seemed a pretty safe bet, but he solidified the idea this week. i was at lunch with my head teacher in the insanely loud cafeteria, and we were just unwinding after a crazy morning of classes, laughing and chatting and getting to know each other. the principal and vice principal came and sat at our table a seat or 2 down. we bowed and said annyeonghaseyo then continued to eat and chat. after a few minutes, the vice principal leaned over to the head teacher and said something in korean. she told me later that he said we were annoying him by being too loud. this is an absurd thing to say in an elementary school cafeteria where you can barely hear yourself think, and my teacher reluctantly said it was probably because we were speaking english instead of korean. i found out that he doesn't really think the english program is necessary and really kind of hates the idea of a native speaker being there. this is a challenge since i have to see him every week for the next year, so keep this situation in mind. most of korea has been very welcoming, but this is definitely not the first time i have met a korean who is less than enthused about my mere existence.

i feel like this post has been kind of a downer...sorry! but i did promise early on to share the good and the bad with you, and this has been a tough week. my desire for this blog is for you to have a realistic glimpse at life in korea...and realistically, it's not always a cake walk. BUT there are 2 pieces of fantastic news that have come out of the week:

first, my dad found work! it is short term, but he will be busy for the next month or 2. after almost a full year of unemployment, we are taking anything we can get. this was almost the best news of the week, but then...
this fella showed dad up and stole the limelight. my brother jeff & his wife amy welcomed nicholas ritter casey to the world on monday 3/8/10. he was a chunker at 8 lbs. plus, but everybody is doing great. i am ready to meet him once i return to the states in a year or so!

hope this post finds all of you healthy and well. please drop me a line with an update on what's happening on your side of the world!


Bob said...

Hang in there. Good to hear about your Dad.

Post a Comment