I don’t know if I would consider the people I met at the GEPIK teachers seminar “friends” but I would consider the possibility. Now before you think I sound like a complete heartless loser, let us define what a friend is. Someone you talk to on a daily basis, hang out with, share you issues and secrets. So no, I don’t think I am a heartless tin man…woman..person.
Moving on. The seminar was good. I did learn some things about teaching, my personal situation, and myself.
First we had 4 classes a day all 50 mins. Topics included writing, art, communication and issues. I found while these were helpful, everything felt very rushed. I had hoped we would have spent more time in class.
There was an “elective” that we chose which lasted over an hour and a half…after our regular classes. Needless to say I don’t think I was being unreasonable when my lack of participation in group work was noticed. I hate group work anyway. Always have.
Aside from learning helpful techinicuqes and activities, the seminar gave me the biggest piece of helpful advice by simply turning me into a student once more.
It’s been over a half a year since I last had my Spanish class, and even those were not your typical structured classes. I suspect most of the teachers have been out of school even longer than me.
By becoming a student once more and having a teacher lead the classroom, I was able to remember and understand the perspective of being a student once more. I wanted my teachers approval. I wanted to get all the answers right. I got competitive with the other students. I think realizing the dynamic of the classroom, not as a teacher, but as a student , was the thing that I took back with me, conciously planning to implement it in my teaching. (I realize that was one long ass sentence and full of fragments but whatever).
I think putting yourself back in a student mindset is something a lot of teachers forget. They forget the students needs and struggles.
Now getting down to my living and group situtation.
Most dorms had 3-4 people. I had one other who happened to be the loudest/leader/most outgoing of the entire group. I wanted to shoot myself. By nature, upon meeting new people, I am more reserved, wanting to get a feel for their personalites by watching and listening.
While some people get the hint and back off…others refuse to leave! Constant “Roomie!” and “My roommate is the best!” and the “My roommate loves me.” Silence…That was all I asked for at night….thank you Beats by Dr Dre with your noise cancelling feature.
But after spending some time alone with my “roomie” I came to the realization that she could be relatively normal. In a weird way she reminded me a lot of my best friend (currently in China) back when we were in college. We wound up spending the last night talking with her other friend. I came to the conclusion that my groupmates weren’t completely scary and the final day turned out to be rather enjoyable.
Though..I will say…I was called “cute” by my younger classmates….my “dongsaengs”…that will never go away will it? I finally understand Baby Spice’s little breakdown in “Spice World” “I’m going to cute even when I’m 30.” which…is now scarily not that far off…..ugh.
Now during my stay it was my “25th” anniversary of leaving Korea for America…..weird. It passed without much fanfare i’m sad to say because I was busy with “school.” I will make some time for this soon though.
After my 3 day seminar I had a 4 day vacation that was “spring break/children’s day” so I had over a week off from work. It was hard getting back into the swing of things.
You know how after the initial two days of being happy you have no school, is slowly followed by 3rd and 4th day where you kind of are bored and want to go back to school, is quickly replaced at day 5 and 6 where you are content to no have work? Well that’s where I was. I had even gotten accustomed to going to bed later.
It’s now Friday and I’ve only had two classes this week, due to “sports day” being the wednesday that I returned to school. I was glad I got to see my 1st, 3rd, and especially 5th graders compete, despite that only being in the sun for an hour or so on a cloudy mild day, I GOT SUNBURNED! Now the top of my chest is red-this does not happen to people like me.
While yes i no longer can tan and look like N from Vixx, I sure as hell have never burned the first week in May…..except…I do now…..dammit. Maybe the sun is stronger here?
But Maryland is pretty damn hot. Speaking of Maryland, Sunday is mother’s day and my first one away from my mom. I sent off “cards” which was an easy and cheap thing to do-so i will def be doing it more often. But it will still be strange. I guess we will have to skype that day. She still gets confused thinking i’m a full 24hours a head of her, not just 12. It’s very funny and cute.
Now regarding some teaching life/customs because I feel like i need to make this some how informational…that is so not a word….is it? I swear since I had my hair “dyed” (bleached people, bleached) from the dark dark dark dark brown (aka the shade above black) I have said/done more dumb things that I have ever done before.
I won’t say what they are because…well thats just too embarssasing.
So as I mentiond I had been on break. When I left, I was told to go and talk with the principal. I was given a specific saying on a post it.
Now I have no problem doings things asked of me if it’s not a normal custom for me. I understand that.
However, when I came back from break, I was not told that I needed to see the principal again and greet him AND give him a gift.
I was not told of this at all until of course after the principal had mentioned something to my co teacher about recieving a gift from the other foreign teacher who has been teachnig in korean for about 6 years. So i was given a “passive aggressive” note saying that I need to learn Korean style.
I would have had no problem buying the principal something small, or going in to say hello to him had I been told BEFORE. In this situtaion, I was the “scapegoat” because I was the foreinger.
Those who say that “oh you’re korean they probably just assumed you knew what to say and do.” I have this to say: they’ve known me for over two months. They still think I can’t read hangul and romanize everything for me. So they clearly knew I would have no clue what to say to the principal.
After talking (VENTING) to my friends I calmed down a bit, took the passive aggressive letter with a grain of salt, and continued on. This is Korean custom as well-not wanting conflict to save face where in America this is considered rude, cowardly and one of the things most people consider their biggest pet peeve.
So today, I continued on with my normal day, did my business and have kept to myself a little more than usual. My friend told me that there is a time when your co teachers no longer treat you as a guest, and you are considered part of the staff-and will be treated like so. She said most teachers decide during this time to leave or stay a year. I am guessing this is the “light switch” but it was so bizarre-I don’t know if they thought that the GEPIK seminar (run by mostly westerns) would suddenly make me a korean teacher…..I don’t know but they signed me up for it so I think they would know.
March went by like a slug. April was a bit faster. Here’s to hoping May will progress fast as well…which judging my calander sitting on my desk, it has-since it’s already May 8…and I totally just realized it’s my half birthday….which now means I’m closer to 26 than 25…..which in turn means i’m closer to 30 than 20…..ok I can’t deal with that head trauma right now.
Luckily this month I have “Dream Concert” to look forward to on the 23rd. Like I’m way more excited than I should be. For those of you who don’t know what that is, which yes I used to be you like…a month ago …..it’s bascially a giant kpop concert with different artists.
This year 4mintue, BTOB, Shinee, Sistar, topp dogg, BTS, EXO (what’s left of them anyway ….not sorry) and Vixx are some of the names as well as a bunch of others. I am sad that I will miss out n Beast who was there last year. But I’m totally excited!
I also spent more than I’ve ever spent before on a concert. Let’s just say the inital price was 200 for reserved sitting …..and we got standing so….I don’t want to reveal the price because I’m not that gaudy…and I’m also slightly unable to wrap my head around it still.
I do want to talk about a conversation my friend and I had about music and KPOP in general because it could seem that I’m a pyscho fangirl ….which I’m really not. But that would invovle going on a tangent and it would be unrelated to this post. So check out my next post which I will start now!
Next time on the real black and white dog archives: my introduction and journey through KPOP, how music is beyond normal thinking and reason and feeling, and why it’s more than a simple song. Prepare yourself…or simply skip over it.