TGIF

This week was rough. Why? Not because of how many classes I had to teach, not because of mischievous students… because I didn’t have any classes for 3 days straight. Tuesday through Thursday I was stuck deskwarming during final exams, and after a very productive Tuesday consisting of powering through lesson plans and ideas for hours and hours, I completely crashed on Wednesday and Thursday.

Physically, I started feeling a bit of a cold coming on for the first time since coming here; mentally, I felt like all my brain juices had dried up like a tiny stream in the hot desert sun. Shriveled like an apple core that’s been sitting on the picnic table for days. Dead like the roadkill you swerve to avoid on the highway. (Sorry. This is why I avoid using similes. I suck at it.)

But now it’s Friday, and not only have we got the lovely prospect of the weekend, but I’m back to teaching classes today, and that has totally reinvigorated me. Also, my cold symptoms have entirely gone away almost before they fully began, and for that I can only thank Vitamin C, zinc, sleep, and my apparently very strong immune system.

So, updates.

First of all, I have to say thank you to Mr. Rob Silvestri…

…for creating a video that has my kids laughing harder than anything I’ve ever shown them.

I knew they’d like it – the slapstick humor / cute animal combo is right up a Korean middle schooler’s alley – but I was taken aback by how much they loved it. The laughter was uproarious. It was fantastic. Even my co-teacher said she wished it was a series because she wanted to see more. THANK YOU ROB SILVESTRI!

How am I using “Ormie,” you ask? As an intro to a lesson about the 5 “W” questions (who, what, where, when, why). They watch, then I ask “Who is the main character? What happened? Where does the story take place? When does it take place? Why does Ormie try to get the cookies?”

Then we play MASH (the game, not the show) just like all of us ’90s kids used to do in middle school, except I don’t tell them what they’re doing. I make them write 4 people, 4 jobs, 4 places, 4 numbers (>20), and 4 reasons (“Because I ______.”). Then we have to eliminate all but 1 answer, and we do that by making tick marks according to the usual MASH rules. After they finish, I have them try to guess the 5 “W” questions they answered:

“Who… will I marry?”

“What… will I do? (job)”

“Where… will I live?”

“When… will I retire?” (they usually guess “When will I die?”, but since many of them write numbers like 25, 30, etc., that seems a bit too gruesome – so, retirement it is)

“Why… will I retire?”

I have to give full credit to one of the lovely teachers on Waygook.org (the site I talked about in this post) for the idea to play MASH with them. It’s been a lot of fun so far. There’s usually quite a lot of laughter when they realize what it’s all about.

(This lesson is purely for fun, not in the textbook or curriculum at all, because they’ve finished finals and all they want to do is sleep or go outside. So if I want any of their attention whatsoever, we HAVE to do fun things, not learn-y educational things. My CT said a lot of the Korean teachers will probably just show videos/movies this week and next week. Why they place final exams 2 weeks before the end of the semester is beyond me.)

Also feeling a bit sad today (hence the contradictory tags for this post below) because one of the co-teachers I’m very close with confided to me that a couple of my other co-teachers, who have been at my main school for several years, were unfavorably comparing me with the previous NETs that worked here. (My school used to have two native English teachers before the budget cuts.) Apparently, those two were very outgoing, talkative, etc. – and I’m most certainly not.

The co-teacher who was relaying this to me assured me that they aren’t upset with me, but I’m concerned because these particular co-teachers are the ones I will be co-teaching with almost exclusively next semester when I have the 2nd graders (currently I have only one class with each of them).

It’s been weighing on me a lot more than I’d like it to. Part of me feels guilty and uneasy and afraid – Do they hate me now because they think I’m too reserved/uptight? What could/should I have done differently? Will next semester be hell because of tension/strain in my relationship with them?

The other part of me is a bit angry – What’s wrong with being quiet and introverted? If they want to talk to me and get to know me better, I’m more than happy to spend time with them. Thus far they’ve always seemed extremely busy, too busy for chit-chat. (Not to mention I’ve had my hands full this semester as well.) Why say that behind my back instead of just approaching me and asking to schedule time to talk (about lessons, teaching, students, life, anything)? It’s not like they’ve been trying to chat and I’ve been brushing them aside or ignoring them!

I also just feel purely sad. Sad because I really like both of them and think they’re great teachers and would love to have good relationships with them. Sad because I don’t want them to box me in a corner and give up on a relationship with me. Sad because even in Korea, even in a place where introversion is more socially acceptable, still my introversion is mistaken for rudeness, standoffishness, etc. Sigh.

Fellow introverts, I know you fully understand my plight. The trapped feeling of wanting them to know that you like them, wanting them to understand your intentions, but also how much exponentially harder it has become to approach them, knowing that they have these opinions about you. (Okay, maybe not all introverts feel this way… is it just ISFJs? Any ISFJ readers out there?)

Side note: If you don’t know your Myers-Briggs personality type, I strongly suggest taking the test (this version is fast and free). It will give you a great deal of insight into your own personality.

Looks like Operation: Win Over Skeptical Co-teachers is about to begin.

Wish me luck.

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