Charvey gets 10 intellectual credits for inspiring this post, or rather, requesting it.
As I come to the end of my tenure at the Korean School (thank you sweet jesus) I am forced to reflect on the last 16 months. Here I have been a homeroom teacher for Grade 4, teaching English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and theoretically, P.E. This year since September I've had 36 eleven year olds in my class. They are totally off the scale -- they make barnyard animals seem civilized and well-mannered. The noise they can generate in a breaktime is comparable to a jumbo jet taking off (you are stood on the runway). The Koreans seem to have a 'leave them to it' philosophy inbetween classes. Yeah, leave them to......fight, shout, fight more, break something, scream, start crying, smash a window and make someone bleed.
I could moan and bitch about the 5000 things wrong with the school, the way they manage us, the way as foreigners we fit in in Korean culture and therefore the way the kids treat us with less respect than our Korean counterparts, the curriculum, the fact we have to take P.E classes, the number of times cultural misunderstandings have occured -- I could ask a searching question about where we should draw the line between cultural misunderstandings and sheer common sense....but I won't. In two weeks, all that will be behind me -- now put yourself in my position, and ask yourself, how do you deal with this?
Most of the time, I have to be mean to get them to listen. Sometimes they listen, and we can have fun. Most of the time, they don't listen. Sometimes, I have to shout at the top of my voice -- sometimes they shout at the top of their voices. Sometimes I bring them in for lunchtime detention. Most of the time they arrive 20 minutes late for lunchtime detention, dripping in sweat, and with grass stains on their shirts. I spend about 63% of my time here rolling my eyes in disbelief. We play football in P.E class. That's all I know, or want to do, in P.E class. Some boys are very keen:
Others don't know what a football is:
What keeps me going in this zoo-like environment is the little moments with the kids outside of the classroom, when I can afford to relax a little. They are little charmers, some of them -- no matter how much they are distracted and no matter how much I want to rip tufts of hair from my scalp until it bleeds for the sake of them never having a bloody notebook or a pencil everytime we have class, I still don't dislike them. They're just kids after all!