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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Catch 22!

1) Very sad that we lost miserably at the scavenger hunt
2) Team..."Raiders of Gwangju"
3) Whyyyy are you at the zoo?
4) Field trip attire haha (Jenny, Mabel and Luigi)
5) PEEPS... American candy!





Catch 22… that's the world I live in here. Nothing is ever good enough, at work that is! If I actually told you every little, tiny thing I did every day, your jaw might just drop. I don't even mind it that much either because I've gotten so used to it. Yes, it changes every so often but I've learned to be very flexible. After every class you teach, you have to write a three sentences (at least) evaluation for each student. Not only that but you have to write in the homework for every subject you teach, check attitude, attention, participation, homework (turned in or not), quiz scores, book reports and of course, attendance. Keep in mind I have 5 to 10 minutes in between each class and 7 students in most classes. This is very tedious but often, I like giving parents and management the feedback. The crappy thing is that a good majority of parents don't even read these evaluations. For a while, management was not satisfied with our general comments. They wanted specific explanations and honesty (this is a bad evaluation… "______ did an excellent job on his phonics homework. He was on task and well behaved today." What they want to know is why he did good on phonics.. what exactly did he do?). Alright, I can do this. Of course… I was just waiting for some kind of complaint. I got verbally reprimanded this past week because I was too honest when giving feed back about one of my student's lack of attention and participation. "Emily has trouble staying focused, she often dazes off in class and does not participate. I am having trouble assessing her speaking skills because she does not speak unless she is called on." Emily's mom called and threatened to pull her out of TN English. The management sat in on three of my classes to see if I was being too harsh. Well… mom got her way! I started bullshitting on my evaluations and making it sound like Emily is just the best student in class. God, I hate doing this. Management told me that they can't afford to have a student drop so I should just lie and pass this student (any student) along with smiles and bullshit. I am starting to see why Asia is full of smart people (sorry to be so stereotypical)…. or so we think. It's all lies! Another example: every Monday we give a quiz to the after school program students to test them on material from the previous week. We want it to look like the students are really smart so management tells us to make the quizzes easy and to review it right before it is given…. ahhh. They even wanted us to send the short 5 questions quiz home on Friday so the kids could study. Are you kidding me… absurd! Between you and me, I don't make my quizzes easy. I want to test my student's knowledge… I want to see if my teaching is working. It is!! :) Ughh… I just have to keep telling myself, this isn't a school, it's a business.

Do I have anything good to say about my school… not really! I LOVEEEEE my kids and my English speaking co-workers.. that's about it! Sorry for my negative attitude… don't worry, I'm a smiley little southern bell at work.

Having a roommate has been fun. I forgot what it was like. Alicia is a fantastic cook. She is originally from Mexico and knows many, many delicious recipes. Her salsa is to die for! I am hoping to pick up a little Spanish as well. She speaks to her family via Skype everyday and is always speaking Spanish. Maybe I'll come home a trilingual. I spent the weekend with Skip… okay, okay… you finally got it out of me… that's his name. When I finally called home Sunday evening, Alicia was so worried. Living alone, I forgot what is was like to have someone worry about you. She's so sweet… I need to remember to be more considerate!

On Saturday, my friends and I spent the day downtown and participated in the first annual Gwangju Marks the Spot Scavenger Hunt. Our large group had to split up into two teams…The Gwangju Raiders (my team) and The Fiting (they were supposed to be "The Fighting" but since the organizers were Korean… the spelling got a little messed up). They try their best! We were given a long list of clues and two hours. Basically, we spent the day running around downtown taking pictures in front of random things. Sadly, we didn't even place but we had a great time. The weather was perfect and the company was even better!

Korean Facts/ Randomness:

- Alicia has a cocker spaniel named Taco. I love taking Taco for walks.. he's such a good dog. You would think I am walking around town with an alien on a leash with the ridiculous looks I get. It's as if they had never seen a dog. Maybe it's the combination… a white, blonde girl and a dog…… CHIN CHAYYYYY (REALLLLY, in Korean).
-People do have dogs here.. it's just not that common. This past Thursday we went to the zoo for a field trip. There was a whole section of dogs… huskies, even some random muts. It was so odd and very, very sad.
- Most of my readers are from North Carolina. I am thinking of you during these hard times. If you are unaware of the sad new… let me fill you in. Several tondos roared through the city of Raleigh and across the heart of NC Saturday afternoon (April 17th)… the tornadoes were part of a storm system that first struck Oklahoma Thursday night and then swept through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, killing at least 43 people before heading out to sea (22 of those people being from North Carolina). I know people are working hard to clean up the massive amounts of damage. You're in my thoughts and prayers!
-Happy Passover and Happy Easter… may your days be jolly!
(Easter is celebrated over here but you wouldn't think it… it's just not commercially advertised with eggs and rabbits like it is in America. I was SOOO excited to dye eggs this year. I started to ask my mom to send me an egg dying kit then I remembered… the eggs here are all brown. It won't work.. damn!
-Thanks mom… the spring box you sent was fabulous. I already finished all the Cadbury eggs. Ugh, they were incredible! My students were not so in love with the peeps but they did really enjoy the Chicks and Rabbits (also knows as Circus Peanuts… awful, chewy, marshmallow-like candy). I love sharing American candy with my kids… it's such a treat to see their reactions.

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