Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Week 50, Midweek

My eyes were extremely red at 1pm today. They were spraying insecticides into the trees from a truck while I was running, so perhaps it is an allergic reaction to that.

At school a boy's grandmother came to complain about me, saying I had kicked her son in the 'penis' and so on and so on. I tried to think which boy it could be, as the previous day I had dolled out a LOT of pushups. Some boys had lain down and only lifted their upper bodies, and so with some of them I had put my feed under knees so they wouldn't lie on the ground. I actually felt myself getting really annoyed that the kids misbehave, and when they are punished, they run to their family and then we get into trouble.
I raised the issue of behaviour with the staff, especially in setting up Class Rules in every classroom. Sumin said she feels the same but the director wants a school that is ...what was the word she said...I dunno, friendly or kind, that we sort of let the kids misbehave a bit and feel comfortable.

This is some of the stuff I have to deal with:

- there are no bells and no alarm, so no definite time classes start and end, just the basic formula of 25 minutes. As a result students arrive late for every class, in dribs and drabs, and many try to leave as I enter, to sharpen pencils (that are already sharp), to get water, visit the toilet or just to slip out.

- today I had pictures of me drawn on the board, and one thing they got right is I'm starting to get really bushy eyebrows. That's okay but subsequently one of the budding cartoonists tossed a Caprisun foil at me, it clunked me pretty hard, and then the 'fun' of 'let's make fun of the teacher' just seemed a bit lacking in perspective. First you draw a cartoon, and then you throw something at your teacher. Not sure if there is a way to be consequetively more disrespectful than that.

- the other budding cartoonist stuck stickers on my clothes when my back was turned.
This made me really angry, as she removed the stickers from my pocket (and I've caught her hand either putting litter in my pocket or trying to pull money or something else out - she's the prime suspect today now that my house keys have vanished). I specifically wanted these stickers to reward good behaviour in the class, and she simply took them and ruined them. I sent her out the classroom. When I emerged, she from the class she was all smiles, she seemed pretty delighted with her punishment.

- being hit in the stomach, fingers jammed into my bum.

- having my arm hairs plucked, and other parts of my anatomy (other than those mentioned above) prodded or poked (which makes the grandmother's suggestion all the more silly; Asians are very touchy feely, Westerners tend to be pretty standoffish, maybe even cold).

- kids eating, and messing in class (I have to clean one of the classrooms every afternoon)

- being told I'm fat (although this always seems to be a healthy message suggesting I get more exercise).

- students who simply don't do anything no matter how often you ask them, how much you threaten them. It's possible some of these students are suffering from a brain wasting disease. If not, their behaviour becomes challenging to explain.

- games in class, cards, toys, that re-appear seconds after death threats to remove them.

All things considered, you've got to maintain a sense of humor. And a pretty thick skin.

I teach the kids also how to treat me, so I bear responsibility for their bad behaviour, and must maintain discipline in the manner that I apply discipline to them. Consistently. One of my responses is to create rules, but the director doesn't want to be a killjoy, hence the situation becomes difficult.

I never get zits and I suddenly have two under my chin. I think it is from the prodigeous amounts of coffee I am consuming to turn my engine. I had my best night's sleep last night, and hopefully will be lightsout by 10pm tonight.

When I left the school I realised I didn't have my keys on me. It's possible that a student zipped them, but can;t see why they'd take the keys and not my glasses. Perhaps I left them at the bakery when I bought a sandwich. Will check tomorrow. Fortunately Corneli has my spare, and she was gracious enough to meet me here after work, and unlock my apartment. She even brought a bacon sandwich along: she's such a star. Incidentally she told me a mother also came to her school and bitched and moaned 'about everything' for about an hour before leaving.
If anything, parent's don't complain or argue enough here, in Korea. The problem is those that do are arguing about the wrong thing. The school system in this country is terrible, but no one has the will to do anything about it. What the parents do complain about doesn't make a helluva lot of sense to me at this point in time.

Tomorrow we are going to watch Revenge of the Sith. It will be my third time watching it, but the first time on the big screen.

Interestingly today i found one of my colleagues reading M. Scott peck's The Road Less Travelled. I'm quite impressed with her, and said we must meet and chat about the book and her psychology.

Highlight of today: cycling on my Cannondale from Juyeop to here.
Lowlight: Psycho granny doing a protest march for her grandson's penis.

Star Wars and popcorn is something to look forward to tomorrow, especially on the big screen and with Dolby Surround Sound. May the Force be with us all.

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