Thursday, May 24, 2012

The less good even worse week

(Thank you Dre for the title inspiration.) Hey everyone, Well I am having a real hard time trying to find something positive to talk about this week...I didn't go on any adventure, everything is kinda going to pot right now. 

Last saturday we had a 6 hour workshop at school. The workshop itself wasn't so bad, It was kinda a waste of time but not as bad as I thought was going to be. During the last five minutes though one of the Korean teachers basically humiliated an English teacher. Yeah that gave us a great mood the rest of the day. My Saturday was basically shot but I did get to go to my first YW activity and spent some time with the girls. That was fun, we listened to my Ipod and shared songs.

Then during the week I found a monster cockroach crawling around near my bed. Yeah that gave me sweet dreams during the night and lets just say I had a field day cleaning my apartment thoroughly. The evil creatures come out of the drains or from the front door. I couldn't figure out how, being on the 11th floor, I would get the monsters. Then yesterday I saw that my neighbor left out their dishes still with the remains of food on them outside their door. Right next to my door. It is a cultural thing but it does not help the pest problem.

The icing on the cake was today, All week we have had the final test for the students which means more videos for the Director to criticize and demean and the work load triples. Well our director decided to take what small amount of time we had and told had a meeting with us. In this meeting she basically told us what our jobs were, and that we needed to get better, she expected drastic improvements from the kids over the past month. She said that our success at the job is depending on the happiness of the students and parents. She said that this was a business and we needed to see some results. I felt like what I was doing was inadequate and that any improvement the students made was not enough. The fact that we are losing any students is obviously my fault as a new teacher. Mind you they didn't really train us in the beginning. I feel like I have had no success where I am at right now, the whole situation is so frustrating. I was considering quitting throughout that whole meeting, if I was not helping what is the point of me staying.

I am no quitter though and speaking with the other teachers afterwards they said basically like they were going to lose their cool in the meeting as well. She was basically critiquing us for things we can't control. Even with the videos, she hadn't even seen any of them yet, but was already telling us that we had to improve them. It is because we as English foreigners we are easy targets and basically the fall back for problems.

The director later talked to David and apologized to him but I have not been addressed and doubt anything will be said to me.

Oh and I am not finished, Normally the kids are my enjoyable part of the job. I get that feeling of everything I am doing is right when I see the students enjoying themselves or doing the work. Well one kid decided to upend that today. Mark is in one of my best classes. (It is the same class as the recorder kid, funny how my best class has given me the most pain) Well we had a good lesson where all the kids were participating. We were making a newspaper about the subjects we learned this term and after the bell rang, I was getting the kids to help clean up after the activity. There was a broken window at the back of the class and Mark was poking at it, so jokingly I asked if he broke it. He just looked at me so I thought he hadn't understood so I repeated myself. He then proceeded to freak out and he threw his book on the ground and ran out of the room in a huff. Feeling like I just unknowingly opened a can of worms I grabbed a few of my things and chased after him. I found him outside looking out a window still in a sour mood. I explained to him the situation that it was not meant to hurt him and that it was a joke. I felt like he needed still some time so I went to the teacher who was going to teach that class next and explained the situation to her. I then went back to the teachers lounge still planning to approach Mark after a while. Well not a minute later the director came in hauling the kid behind her. With her help I again explained that it wasn't his fault, and that I didn't really blame him for the window that it was just a joke. I apologized that I offended him and that was that. The director took another half an hour explaining that the kid had bullying issues and that at one time he had called the cops because people were making fun of him. He is a darker complexion then the other children and sad to say Korean are really racist. The situation was not ideal but it worked itself out, I had him for one more class and he was normal in that class. It was just more frustration on top of an already stressful day.

So here you go, that is my current feeling this week. But this whole post is really negative so to make up for it I will post a picture of my babies. They are the two kids from the french family that has taken me in. They both love me!!! At least someone does :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Real Temple

Okay I realize I'm a little late in posting this, but better late then never, and technically it is still Thursday your time. This weeks big adventure was the LDS Temple! I went on Saturday and it was an intense trip. I had to meet the church members at 5:30 am, that is in the morning!!! That is really early, but I did it. I had to walk and that meant waking up around 4am, disgusting if you ask me. The bus ride was about 5 hours long to get there and I slept most of the way. Not the best sleep but when we got there I was so happy. The temple was beautiful and I got to go through two sessions. The first session I listened to the translator in English and while I was in that session I noticed that there was a French option on the translator. So the next session I did it in french, I was slightly amazed at how much I understood and was able to follow just fine. That made me very happy. After going through the Temple I sat out on the small bit of grass with my YW president and we had lunch together. After that we piled back into the bus and came home (another 5 hours). I got home around 9 and it was nice to just relax after that. When I told my friends about my quick trip to Seoul they were a bit disappointed in how long I stayed. I have no qualms with it though. The weekend of the 27th is a three day weekend and I am planning on going up to Seoul then. Anyways here are some pictures from the Seoul Temple trip:
I liked how the roof of the temple is in the traditional Korean way, with those cool tiles and everything. As for an update with my school, my director has decided to keep the hagwon open for one more session. That is about three more months, if we do not have any growth during that time she will close us down. So she has decided to have us go to a six hour workshop this saturday and I am not too happy about that but I will do my best to stay professional. That is all for now :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

No good, very bad week

Welcome to my no good very bad week,

Where can I start, I think it started last thursday where I got a new student in my best class. I was excited to get a new student but it was difficult because a lot of the work that we were doing in that class depended on the work you did in previous class. So the new kid could do much, then during the next class ( I have the class twice on thursday just changing the subject from writing to reading) I discovered that the first part of the lesson hadn't been taught yet (we teach reading in parts, the Korean teachers teach the first part and the foreign teachers teach the second part) well I couldn't teach my lesson then so I had to on the spot make up for the lack of a lesson. It was just simple bad luck but I covered the material we could without jeopardizing the other lesson and called it good with a educational game at the end.
Well my bad luck turned to horrid luck when the next day Director Lee approached me and told me that the new student's mom had stuck a recording device into the student's backpack and based off of what she heard made a complaint. I listened in disbelief as my director told me how I didn't have control over the class and that the Korean teacher was better and that I didn't know how to teach because the non-english speaking mom said she didn't hear me teach and then my director went on and said that I am not professional enough. She just kept attacking me in her disjointed english and basically unloaded on me. The school is in hard times at the moment, we have lost a fair amount of students and I think she just needed someone to blame. But I was definitely offended and angry, My classes are not as strict as the Korean teachers because I refuse to be that strict and that I enjoy it when the kids are free and open as long as they are speaking english and have focus on the lesson, who cares if they are a little rowdy. In any case I was angry over that and I felt basically attacked and angry that the director would not back me but take the side of the mom. I am learning more and more everyday that this is a business not a school and I don't like it.
And that was only friday, well saturday came along and I had planned to go with my hopkido group to a Buddhist temple where we were going to train there. Sounds cool right, well it wasn't what I thought it would be. We left in the morning and arrived at out motel where the twenty of us will sleep in two rooms, one for the girls and one for the boys. When we got their our master told us that because of traffic we would not be able to get to one of the temples so for the next six hours we had free time and could hang out. The motel was right next to a river which was a lot of fun to play in. Well six hours is a long time so I decided that I wanted to go out into the river and sit on the big rock in the center and draw. I had my sketchbook in hand and my camera in my back pocket. I sketched for a bit and one of the Koreans followed me around. I was fine up until we were moving back up the river when one of the rocks we were hopping around on gave way and the last thing I saw was my hand holding my sketchbook try to catch myself by going into the water. My butt followed directly afterwards and within seconds I dunked the two things I told myself I would protect from doing just that. Below is the last picture my late camera took:
Yeah, no more camera...
Anyways the rest of the weekend was slightly disappointing, the rest of the evening everyone drank and I slept on the floor having to listen to the shouting of their drinking party in the next room. I was the only one to wake up at the right time at 7:30am. Then we didn't actually train at the temple, just drank questionable tea with a couple of monks. That part wasn't too bad. One of the foreigners was totally hung over from the night before though, not pretty. And because everyone slept in that morning we were late to all the other appointments which meant I didn't get home in time for church. Joy, what a weekend. I did get a pretty cool picture from one of my buddies though:
When I got back to work on Monday, it was the same story as friday except it is now public humiliation, where my Director used me as bad example and basically had a meeting with the other english teachers to talk about it. We had a two hour meeting on wednesday and during that waste of time I apparently raised my voice to the director or at least that is what David told me. So I apologized today to Director Lee and just ate my humble soup. I feel better about it now that I figure I can't control any of it and if the school goes under I get to come home a little earlier then I planned. I think I will go to China next after all if that happens. Oh and I bought a new camera today, I help from a friend who knows his stuff so it is a nice one. It cost a fair amount more then my last camera but it is good quality and I needed a camera for this coming weekend. I am going to the Temple! I am so Excited!!! So hopefully my bad week has burned itself out now and things will have turned around. We shall see. Here are the rest of the last pics I took with my dearly departed camera. I will post them as a momento:
That is the miracle sketchbook that amazingly enough only suffered from minor water damage after being completely submersed in the water. Oh and those were my only pants I brought with me as well.
Evil River....grrr

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I thought I would start this weeks post with the above picture. This is one of my Ivy classes and the kid in the middle with the red shirt is actually asleep. The other kids just wanted to pose. This is right after their midterm exams. They are a bit tuckered out. I thought it was so funny I took a picture.

Besides that this week was pretty average. I am still doing hapkido in the mornings every mon, wed, and friday and I have korean lessons on mon and wed. And I'm trying to draw out a short 22 page comic book, but I lazy and get distracted easily so it is slow in coming.

One nasty thing that happened this week and I'm still dealing with it is that my water heater broke. I came home on wednesday after work and when I came into my apartment it sounded like someone was taking a shower in my bathroom. I opened the door and the bathroom felt like a sauna! Hot water was pooring out of my water heater, thankfully I figured out how to turn off the water. I am still waiting for my work to get someone to come and fix it. I wish I didn't have to rely on anyone and I could just fix it myself. Anyone know anything about water heaters?

Lets change the subject to something a little more fun. There was a sale this week at one of the department stores and one floor is 90% off, pretty good! I bought four skirts :) I bought them all by myself and used my Korean and everything. I felt very accomplished.

well everyone have a great week :)