suddenly, summer

I mean, I’m used to it because it’s often the same in my state back home, but we really barely got a spring this year.

It was chilly enough for jackets in the daytime and downright cold at night straight through most of April, and there were only a handful of really nice days before the blistering heat struck earlier this month. This week has been torturous for all of us stuck in offices and classrooms sans air conditioning, with the sun beating down mercilessly on the windows and baking us alive.

My co-teacher wisely gave me permission to turn on the a/c in my English classroom when it gets especially unbearable, because so many kids at this school need a lot of extra motivation to care about studying English particularly, and a comfortable, inviting environment really helps with that. I’m lucky because my classroom, being the “English zone,” is the only room in the whole school with an independent heating/air-con system, so we don’t have to ask the admin to turn it on for us. And we can get away with using it a bit under the radar without getting yelled at. mwahahaha.

Anyway, we’ve had some ups and downs this week.

2nd graders are an exhausting sample of the middle school population. In one class, we had played a whole ONE ROUND of a new game and a boy loudly declared “Teacher, no jam. No jam.” (No jam is a newish slang term, a mix of the English “no” and the Korean “jaemi eopseo,” which means not fun / boring.) Like, kid, give it a freaking try before you announce to the whole class that this is boring. K thx. (Also, if it’s really that boring how about we go back to the textbook? No? Didn’t think so.)

The second incident was with another 2nd grade boy, who is particularly troublesome in general, but this week his team was doing poorly in a game and so he decided to give up and start writing English profanities on his whiteboard. He caught my look and started erasing pretty darn fast, but the bad attitude of one can be a disease that spreads to the whole class. (Although a minute later he did write “Merry [sic] Teacher is pretty” to try to bribe me for points. Nice try, kiddo.)

On the upside, my 3rd graders are absolutely lovely and generally well-behaved and polite. Recently, one of the high level boys has managed to do something that I never could, last year or this year – his partner in class is a kid with a learning disability who usually never speaks, even in Korean. Two weeks in a row now, Boy 1 has successfully encouraged Boy 2 to perform the textbook dialogue with him in front of the class. It’s so sweet.

And when we were playing a survey guessing game (a bit like Family Feud in reverse; I showed them four actual American survey answers for a particular category, they guessed which answer was the most popular – practicing “Agree/Disagree”), one of the questions was “Which woman is the most beautiful? Scarlett Johansson / Jennifer Lawrence / Katy Perry / Zooey Deschanel.” One of the boys said confidently, “Teacher is most beautiful.” Pretty sure I can’t touch any of those ladies in the looks category, but still, it was a day brightener.

And today is Friday, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel as we speed up towards the last 6 weeks of school, 1 of which will consist of the speaking test for all students (conducted by yours truly), 1 of which will be at least partly taken up by final exams, and the rest of which I’ve almost finished planning lessons for.

Happy weekend everyone, and as the science teacher cried joyfully at lunch today, “TGIF!”


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