Monday, December 21, 2009

Pulling Teeth

Teaching the 6th grade is like pulling teeth. Half of my students didn't bother showing up until 10 minutes into class and I had no authority to do anything other than make them stand for the next 15 minutes instead of playing the game. My co-teacher was sick today, which was is fine...except that we have no real contingency plan for when she is not there. She told me to play a game with them for the entire period. Games are not as fun when they don't relieve from work. It's a class with 30+ students that is controllable when the two of us tag team discipline but much less so when she's not there. I am so glad this is the last day before winter vacation. ...It dawns on me that this is probably why trying to do anything with them seemed like an uphill battle.

Rant over.

Last night I took hooligan 1 to buy a cell phone. He doesn't have any co-workers who really speak English so having them help out wasn't really an option. Here's the thing: I don't speak Korean either. I have a limited amount of Konglish and as a fall back I use my superhero miming skills. To hooligan 1, my Korean skills are impressive. He had no idea that I was saying things like the following:
'Hand phone, no expensive. Foreigner. 1 year. I'm sorry. Wait...I don't understand. I'm sorry. One more time? Sorry! Okay! Got it! What?'

That is pretty much the extent of my phone buying vocabulary. BUT we managed to get the hooligan a phone and an English bill service. There was a celebratory pint and then I passed out early, thinking I had a long day of teaching ahead instead of just one class.

...I just found out that after lunch my desk is getting moved to the third floor. On the plus side, this means no more walking up and down 4 flights of stairs multiple times a day. Downside: super awesome office mate is not moving too. :( :( :(


snowmon said...

Koreans are smart in that sense because if some foreigner walked into mobile retail store in America and talked like you and expected them to understand and fill out the paper for you, the response you get would be obvious: "WHAT? I don't understand, can you bring someone who can speak English?"

Alex said...

Pretty much. My Konglish/acting skills are highly useful. This is the 2nd time I've bought a phone in Korea using the above combination though I will admit, the first time I had only been in Korea for a month and there was considerably more acting and recourse to the dictionary.