The title of this post is a bit deceptive. Things are actually getting better at school. Each day is a bit better than the last. I am beginning to hit my stride, and many of the teachers who ignored me before are now making eye contact in the hallway – a big step forward. A few even said hello to me as I walked into the school this morning.
Despite the fact that things are improving, some of the little cultural differences are starting to get to me. It’s nothing serious, just a few minor things that are getting under my skin. For example, chewing with your mouth open is not rude in Korea. Quite the contrary actually. If open-mouth chewing was an Olympic sport my coteacher would have the gold. Ms. Shin brings us something to eat every morning, and he shows his appreciation by chewing so loud I can’t hear myself think. It got so ridiculous this morning that I had to leave the room. He sounded like my German Shepherd with peanut butter stuck to the roof or her mouth.
Another thing that is starting to get on my nerves is the way that age trumps knowledge and experience…always. If an older colleague is doing something wrong, you just have to stand by and watch. Mr. Yong came into my classroom this morning and asked me for a copy of my lesson plan. This took several minutes, because he doesn’t speak English – but don’t tell him that, because he loves talking to me. I understand about every third word, but most of what he says is unintelligible. He usually gets frustrated – I get the impression that he thinks I’m just not listening.
Anyway, I showed Mr. Yong my lesson plan for the week. He then asksed to see a PowerPoint that I made. He thought one of the slides was funny (a picture of a cat doing something ridiculous), so he clicks the small print icon at the top of the MS PowerPoint screen. The printer doesn’t spool up fast enough, so he clicks it two more times. What he doesn’t realize is that he just printed the entire 40-slide presentation three times. Brilliant! Can’t cancel the job, because I don’t read Korean.
After Mr. Yong looks through the rest of the presentation, he closes the screen by clicking the “x” in the corner. He has neither the time nor the patience to read the little box that pops up, so he clicks “no” (do not save changes). Thirty minutes of updates….out the window.
My first class is about to start. Hopefully I can turn the day around. The kids won last week – I lost control of this class. Time for round 2.
Until next time.