Recently, the English Zone has turned into the place where girls go to cry. They walk in, sit on the couch directly outside of my office, and let loose. It makes sense – the English Zone is often empty and away from the main hallway where most of the students spend their time. But I never know how to handle it. The worst is when they come in and have a full-tilt breakdown as I’m preparing for class or leaving for lunch.
I usually respond the way any red-blooded American man would….ignore it. I go about my business and leave them alone while they cry it out. Unfortunately, many of them have no problem walking into my office and asking for tissues. At first this was problematic – Korean is hard enough to understand when they speak slowly and clearly. Ultra-fast weepy Korean sounds like static to me. I caught on pretty quickly, though, and put a box of tissues on the corner of my desk near the door.
Occasionally I will walk out and check on the student, if I know who she is and have some sort of rapport with her. The few I have tried to talk to seemed to appreciate it. If I’m not fairly certain that they can understand what I’m saying, I stick to play A (ignore it).
This morning has been an exceptionally weepy start to the day. Two girls and one female teacher, all during homeroom period. The two girls overlapped by about thirty seconds, but there seems to be an unspoken rule that you must relinquish the crying corner if a weepier girl shows up. The teacher had a REALLY good cry, but I don’t think she speaks English, so I left her alone. It seemed to work out. Before she left, she smiled as if to tell me that she appreciated it.
Until next time.