blogging because stress

Today is the real first day of school for me because I actually have to teach, and we’re starting off with a bang. To wit:

— I left my phone at home this morning. This, friends, is a first world tragedy.

— I have 5 classes on Thursdays, and 3 of them are all in a row. That 10-minute break between consecutive classes is just not enough to recharge the batteries.

— The TV-computer connection wasn’t working when I started my first class at 9 a.m.

— Raging headache kicked in around 10 a.m., didn’t let up.

— My temporary joy at getting two whole strawberries with lunch was diminished when my fear finally happened… I WAS STABBED IN THE GUM BY A ROGUE FISH BONE. It wasn’t even jjim; it was one of those fried fish patties that isn’t even supposed to have bones in it. After gingerly extracting the ivory spear from the gum around my back molar, I was pretty much done eating the fish patty. And done eating fish. Ever. probably.

With any change comes pros and cons. In my case, I guess those are most of the cons – oh, and also learning that my old place must be the only apartment building in all of Korea that is relatively soundproof. I mean, that room was quiet at all hours of the day and night. Now, in my new place, the neighbors above me seem to be endlessly dissatisfied with their furniture arrangement, hence constantly scraping things around up there, and the neighbor beside me thinks that after midnight is the perfect time to strike up loud conversations (whether with himself or someone on the phone, I’m not sure). I’m seriously considering moving my bed and messing up my whole room layout just to be further away from our shared wall when I’m trying to sleep.

But on the bright side of change…

— I have my own classroom now, the one connected to my office which was used by another teacher last year. It’s my English Zone now. Nice to have a space to call my own and be in command (once the last teacher finally moves her loads of paper, student work, and other materials out, that is).

— Only working at one school does cut down on my lesson planning in the long run. (I’m saying this now, but I’m sure within a week I’ll have extra after-school classes and teachers’ classes and English clubs dumped on me to make up for it.)

— My students’ behavior is 1000x better than last year, at least in terms of the classes/grade levels that I used to dread. My new coteachers are da bomb, super helpful with translation and discipline, and confident in their English (I have literally never had a Korean teacher speak only in English to a class for more than 5 seconds, but both of my new CTs give basic classroom instruction and ask the kids questions in English, rarely resorting to translation unless absolutely necessary. I’m floored.)

Best of all, it was just nice to see some of these kids again. They were super excited to see me, which surprised me a little. I absolutely love hearing them walk in the classroom, see me, and say excitedly to their friends in Korean, “Oh! It’s Maddy Saem.”

That’s all for today. Time to walk home and pull out the ibuprofen for this headache.

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