Thursday, March 20, 2008

One of "Those" Days

If I'd had any idea how today was going to pan out when I awoke this morning, I would have stayed in bed a lot longer. It was a day full of teacher vs. students, and I'm still not sure who won. Probably the students, since they seemed no worse for wear. I, on the other hand, desperately wanted to make a necklace out of Valium and lick at it all day long!

Yesterday I planned a project for each of my kindergarten classes. For the first class, we were to make "film books": a sleeve with a window, and then a "filmstrip" with various pictures to pull through the sleeve. For the second class, I decided to be very optimistic and have them make farm dioramas. Or, rather, the start of farm dioramas. My idea was to use the diorama as a teaching tool by having them do one part at a time.

The kids were enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoyed their lessons today, so I guess you could call my ideas successful. On the other hand, I underestimated the challenges I was undertaking. I knew I would need to cut out the main parts of the dioramas and film books in advance (Satan will get frostbite before I ever let my kindy kids do their own cutting on anything that requires precision), so I went to school early today in order to get it done. I soon discovered that kids are fascinated by teachers cutting things, and had to cut out the parts with about six kids hovering over me and occasionally trying to sit in my lap. Not easy! Then, I ran into trouble with the film books in my first class. The sleeves turned out the same width as the filmstrips, so I had to re-cut the filmstrips in order to be able to insert them. The windows on those sleeves were a nightmare to cut out - I found myself longing to just chuck the whole project!

My afternoon classes were possible fodder for the script of a future horror film. In all but one class (that's seven if you're keeping track), the kids behaved horribly and I had outright confrontations. In my E3-C class, I actually kicked a kid out of the room. I knew I had to get him away from me. All my classes were loud, even the one class that behaved well. One hour in, and I had a splitting headache. Ivy, one of the Korean teachers, was kind enough to give me some medication that I have a feeling is probably not legal in the US without a prescription. It got rid of my headache for a few hours, and doped me up enough that I managed to survive the day.

The only bright spots in my day have been my E5-B class, getting back my passport and alien registration card, and the anticipation of dinner tonight. I'm going out with a bunch of other foreigners for dak galbi, which I've been told is absolutely delicious. I'm completely exhausted and my headache is back, but I need that dinner. This day has got to end on a positive note! I've earned it!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"