Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working Girl

For the first time in over a year, I find myself disdainfully, gainfully employed. Tomorrow I'll have been here a week. The first three days I went along with Co-teacher and watched. He works off a book that comes with a CD that sings and counts and is delightfully interactive. The whole lesson is scripted, which was a relief because on Friday of last week he informed me that I would be teaching solo on Tuesday because he had to officiate testing. Nerve wracking!
Tuesday came and I was sent off to class. All the homeroom teachers stayed, just in case pandemonium ensued. None did, but my first lesson went terribly as I couldn't figure out the CD. I kept turning the program off to the delight of the third graders who would shout, "Oh my gaw!!" and "Oh no!!" gleefully every time I did it.
They also helped me get back on track yelling, "Cleek! Cleek!" So I did and the program would come back up. Classes two through four went much more smoothly, although I finished five or more minutes early every time. I'm sure someone is going to be vely angly about that.
Since all the English classes are over at lunch time, the rest of the day is spent not working, but being here and getting paid, a concept that is mind boggling to an American who is accustomed to clocking out for my pittance of a lunch break back in the states. Today co-teacher is officiating tests for the whole school, so guess what I'm doing?? Absolutely nothing. But I still must come to work. It is my duty.
In other news, some of the other teachers have taken a shine to me. Or rather my English speaking ability. Tuesday after lunch, I was abducted by the music teacher, Calliope, who took me to her classroom and played the recorder for me. She played very well, but still, what was that about? Then she decided she was going to teach me Korean in exchange for me helping her with English. Yesterday she came and wrote the Korean alphabet and told me to study it. I have been, but it's still inscrutable. I'm sure I must try harder, as Co-teacher keeps insisting, "It's vely easy!!"
Now for some school weirdness. We take our shoes off at school and wear slippers all day. The children take theirs off immediately upon entering the building and have either pink or blue rubber soled slippers with a strap. The teachers take theirs off at their desk. Speaking of which, I have forgotten to take mine off! Oh my gaw! After lunch everyone brushes their teeth. Speaking of which, I have forgotten to bring a toothbrush! On no!! The teacher's bathrooms have hi-tech toilet seats, I have no idea what the buttons do and since Mr. AwesomeCool had an unfortunate encounter with the bidet button, I won't mess with them. Also, there is no toilet paper in the stall, you must collect it before you go in, something I find maddening as I forget every time. We are supposed to greet the vice principal upon arriving and say goodbye upon leaving. Everyone bows in greeting.
Now for some general weirdness, not related to the school. Bus drivers are maniacs. I get a full ab workout every time I ride the bus, just trying to stay upright with their constant screeching to a halt and accelerating like they're in Fast and Furious 6: Bus rides From Hell. They also view red lights and picking up/letting off passengers as optional. There are only single seats on either side of the bus, so most people end up standing and it doesn't matter what time you take the bus, those seats will always be full and more likely, the whole bus will be packed.
Our apartment has key less entry, which, if you remember the forgotten key fiasco in Spain, you'll know I appreciate immensely. You just enter the code and the door magically opens. Every Korean apartment, I'm told has the same fake wood looking linoleum. We are no exception. They also have a thing about dish dryers. They look like convection ovens and you put your dishes in to dry instead of letting them air dry.
I'm sure I'll think of more later and I'll soon be posting about our trip to Seoul which took place on Saturday! Oh my gaw!! Oh no!!

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