This is the end of the week of posts. This one, like Monday, is not one of the pre-written, sitting-in-my-drafts-folder-forever posts. It’s just a little update to round things out.
Even though the first three days of the week were final exams and no classes, or maybe because of that, a full day of classes on Thursday was exhausting. We’re not studying from the book, obviously, since it’s post-exams time. But these last couple weeks of school are really dreadful since the kids have been sapped of all motivation to do anything from now till summer vacation.
This week, per my co-teachers’ request, we’re spending the first 20-25 minutes of class getting the kids to make groups and start planning out their “UCC contest” projects – basically, making a short video skit using English expressions. (UCC is user-created content; I’d never heard the term before I came here, but Koreans use it all the time for some reason.) It’s their summer homework, and the videos will be graded and winners announced a week or so into next semester.
Then for the rest of class, I’m just showing them some American 4th of July traditions (red, white, and blue clothes, the national anthem, parade, backyard BBQ, fireworks) and having them answer some questions about it afterwards. Really easy stuff, but it’s been draining nonetheless.
I’m also stressed out because as soon as school is “over,” I have summer camp. And as soon as summer camp is over, I have a week of daily 2.5 hour “after school” speaking classes (um, hello, they’re not “after school” if it’s in the morning AND during summer vacation…).
This obligation was unceremoniously dumped on me on Wednesday with no warning, and no information re: number of students, grade levels, whether it’s the same group of kids for 2.5 hours or different groups, what to teach, etc. etc. Korean surprises get less and less amusing as time goes on, but I try to remember that wise speaker at EPIK orientation who told us to close our eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine the confetti falling down around us for those wonderful Korean surprises.
And once that week of classes is over, there are 2 weeks until we start the fall semester. Totally different from American summer vacation, right? Hopefully 2 weeks is all I’ll need to recharge these nearly dead batteries. I’d put myself at an iffy 13% right now. Right about when your phone starts beeping at you and warning you to plug it in, like, SOON.
Battery-saving mode: ON.
In other news, we had an earthquake here on Tuesday night around 8:30. It was a really crazy feeling. I’ve never experienced one before, and I was just sitting quietly in my apartment, typing something on my computer when my chair suddenly seemed to bounce up into the air, and consequently I bounced up into the air for a split second. After the initial jarring, everything went sort of wobbly for a few seconds, like I could feel the ground beneath me just… wobbling. I can’t think of a better word to describe it. Super weird. For a minute I thought I was going crazy until people started tweeting about it, and then a Korean site posted the official information.
And the following day, Wednesday, we had the heaviest thunderstorms I’ve ever seen/heard in Korea. It was awesome.
On the positive side
One of the really low-level boys came into my office before class started, textbook and pencil in hand, extremely eager. He set his book on my desk, and I could see he’d written out numbers 1-7 in a column on the first page. After a few seconds of nervous throat clearing and Korean muttering, he said, “Eagles… spelling.” I spoke each letter clearly, with an accompanying tracing of the letter with my hand in the air, and he would pause a second and then carefully, meticulously write it next to #1 in his book.
He’s a huuuuge baseball fan. These are all Korean baseball team names. We continued with Twins, Wyverns, Giants. (He already knew how to spell Daegu’s team name, the Lions, considering he’s written it in huge letters across the front of his school gym uniform with a Sharpie.)
He’s a really sweet kid, and I was glad we found something that motivates him enough that he makes the effort to communicate with me.
Finally, there was this left mysteriously on my whiteboard at the end of the day. Just what a teacher’s heart needs.