Friday, May 04, 2007

Frustrations this week:

Monday: I have a cold. I'm told that I got my cold because I'm wearing a short-sleeved shirt. It's 74 degrees outside. My special coffee cup, that I bought after a search over all of Gohyeon, was commandeered by an older teacher. I'm not sure if he knew it was mine (although my name is written on the bottom), but he sure did rub it in by sipping his tea loudly across the room all day.

: I start the day with my "Village of the Damned" class. They stare at me, speak very little, and overall creep me out.

: A Korean teacher interrupts me to say that I'm pronouncing, "long, talk, law, and call" incorrectly. She insists they are pronounced "lohng, tohlk, lohw, and cohl." I gently remind her that this is why they brought me to Korea. Update: Yeah, so I have the same disagreement over how to pronounce vowels with my other co-teacher. This time, I turn the discussion, by teaching her how to pronounce Korean vowels. She isn't amused.

: Nothing. I had the day off because it was my school's anniversary. yay

: My co-teacher is ten minutes late. When she shows up, she speaks to the students in Korean and then finally tells me that the students have a vocab test and that I'm not needed for about 15 minutes. So, I leave the classroom, grab my coffee mug from the shelf, and sip coffee for 15 minutes ;)

Korean schools, you are so good to me. Where do I sign up for another year?


  1. Sounds like a rough week. I hope you got your cup and you're keeping it with you. If in fact people are using "the same" coffee cup,i.e. claiming one as their own and using that one only...then my brother you are being dissed.

    It's maybe hard for the other teachers to relate to the FACT that there is not ONE STANDARD way to pronounce English and what they see as your error is just revelation to them that their pronunciation is an imitation of one man or one woman or one set of audio recordings that were drilled into them as "the standard" when in fact there was and IS no such thing.

    If the goal is a sector of the population (or an entire population) of automatons all speaking the same English, the same pronunciation then they might as well be clones of you as well as any other native speaker of English.

    Perhaps in Korea variation of pronunciation of the Korean language is not acceptable, therefore for them it's not acceptable in any other language either.

    Or maybe it's something even deeper than that. Wanting to be perfect so that they will not be sneered at or jeered at for the way they pronounce English.


    If the schedule is pretty "tight" perhaps you could stick to it and require that your "co-teacher" do likewise. I think I'd be very insulted by some of the stuff you're putting up with. I think I'd be surprised, pissed then silent, planning the strategy.

    Wow! So how many more months of this? Could you survie there teaching English privately or doing something else? Maybe you have enough income from invstments to live a simple life there? Right, who would want to stay...okay gotcha

    Yeah, I'd dare to be firm. Respectful and demanding respect as well. And I'd introduce whatever it took to get those kids talking. So much fro this here back seat driver.

    You did good. You didn't yell. You did confront the slurper with a styrofoam cup and take your cup back. You didn't dismiss your co-teacher as you were "dismissed".
    You focused on staying cool. Good move.

    I'm sure your silent class of stare-ers is enjoying the class just as much as you are. Are the objectives fixed and the methods left to your discretion or is everything fixed and you're simply the mouthpiece, the puppet, so to speak?

    Americans (USians) will think less of, pretend not to understand, ignore anyone that doesn't look like, act like or sound like they do or like something they've seen on television. That's it But it all they want to do is please tourists and the "business class" don't worry. It all comes down to money and service.

    Has Chinese been introduced into the mandatory school curriculum these days?

    To be treated as an inferior would stimulate me to set some firm, announced if need be, boundaries and to do my thing with a vengence.

    MUTUAL respect or MUTUAL tolerance, or MUTUAL aversion..whatever we just need to be on the same page and focus on why we are here together at this moment/

    Wow what a week. Next week has GOT to be better. What will you bring different to the equation? A thermos with your name on it in your briefcase or back pack? Half a dozen "special" coffee cups with "DO NOT USE AMERICAN'S CUP" on each? (lol)Physical, interactive activities for your class of staring silent bodies?

    I dunno...I KNOW I don't know. You're there; I'm not.

    I hope at least one new element is introduced to the mix so the cake turns out differently, MORE DELICIOIUS, next week.

    All the best, Nia. :)

  2. Nia,

    Wow, your response was longer than my blog. Thanks for the pointers. I actually like my job pretty well. It has its bad moments, but I was just blowing off steam. I try to just let it all roll off.

    I agree with the pronunciation thing. It can be pretty frustrating, when a non-native speaker tries to correct my pronunciation.

    Thanks for the encouragement.


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