Monday was the first day of classes. Admittedly, it was difficult to get my brain out of desk warming mode but I did manage to put together a rather splendid self-introduction lesson. “Hello, I’m Carrie. I’m from Canada. I am very big. Canada is very big.” And on it went for 40 minutes.
As I played the “Carrie-teacher Bomb Game” (a much-loved game where if they pick the wrong square, all of their points get “blown up”) for the 11th time this afternoon, I found myself wondering what the students were learning, if in fact, they were learning anything at all. Yes, I was using authentic English for a useful purpose. Yes, all of the students were interested and participating. I even made sure to use key words and sentences from last year’s textbook so the game doubled as a review. But while “I have 2 younger brothers” is a potentially useful sentence, I did feel a bit bad during the game. It seemed a bit egotistical to quiz them on random (and frankly not very interesting) things about me and my life.
“No, I’m sorry. No points for you! I have two cats and one dog, not one cat and two dogs.”
Oh well, if nothing else, they have learned the difference between ‘bomb’ and ‘dynamite.’
Last semester, I taught all over the school. This year, I will teach exclusively in the English Room. This means I will have to use the Grade 3/4 bathroom, located right outside the English Zone. Thankfully, neither the stalls nor the squat toilet bowls are any smaller than the ones upstairs near the staffroom. But as I wedged myself in to a wee stall this morning, I realized the dividing walls are a lot shorter.
How did I realize this? Two little girls climbed over them. I’m not sure who was more surprised.
“Oh! You no Su Jin!” one little urchin said, startled. “Where Su Jin?”
“Erm… No, no, I’m not Su Jin,” I muttered, uncertain of the etiquette required in this situation.
“She no here?” asked the other little girl, peering around the stall.
Where did she think her friend was hiding? It was unlikely a flea would have fit in that stall with me. And unless they left soon, my knees were going give out.
“OK,” she said, shrugging. “Carrie-teacher, how are you?”
“Great! Just great… you?”
I tried to play it cool. Perhaps it’s perfectly normal in Korea to scale the bathroom wall to chat with your teacher while she’s peeing. They certainly seemed unfazed by my state of undress.
Thankfully the bell rang and off they scampered, clambering down the wall of the connecting stall like agile little monkeys.
Mental note: Drink nothing for breakfast. Drink nothing for lunch. In fact, give up drinking all together unless I’m within 50m of my apartment.