Aah, the Korean surprise.
We were “warned” about this by one of the lecturers during our EPIK orientation. Essentially, anything can happen at any time, and you have to just roll with the punches (like I referenced in a previous post). This particular speaker told us that when she experiences the Korean surprise, she copes by closing her eyes and imagining confetti falling all around her like it’s a surprise party just for her… and then she opens her eyes and does whatever she has to do.
Here are just a few examples of the Korean surprise in action (all of which happened to me today):
Surprise! I have class 1st period and it started 5 minutes ago. I didn’t know about it because the schedule my co-teacher gave me printed out wrong (I thought my first class was 4th period), so a co-teacher I’d never met before came and found me in the office. I had to frantically grab materials while trying to introduce myself to him and apologize for being late all at once.
Surprise! I have way more co-teachers than I thought. Just today I met three who I didn’t even know existed until I met them in the classroom. My total is up to 9 or 10 now, but I have at least one more to meet… I think.
Surprise! I’ll be teaching an after-school conversation class to a group of 2nd graders (without a co-teacher, at both schools), as well as a conversation class for the Korean teachers, starting next week. This is not uncommon for EPIK teachers, though; actually, I’m just extremely grateful they gave me a week’s notice.
Surprise! Nearly half my class this afternoon was suddenly called out by a teacher about 5 minutes in. Why? I have no idea. One minute I had 18 students… the next minute I had 11. Not a big deal, just another example of this phenomenon in action. Maybe next time my class size will unexpectedly double! That will be fun.
And if and when that happens, this will be me…