Friday, 22 October 2010

The Third Week

Our third week in Korea: we tried new things! Korean things! And even tried some on our own!

Last Saturday we went to Geoje Island, or 'Geojedo', which no Korean person I know has ever visited. I've told my co-worker and various students about the trip and everyone went “oh. I've never been there.” It was a very strange day – very enjoyable, don't get me wrong, just mad. There are some pictures below the fold (click on 'Read More' to see them).

The week itself seems to have gone quite fast. Monday is my least favourite day, for reasons imaginable as well as it being the only day where I teach in Jungma (at Tom's school) rather than on Posco Island. I find the Jungma school a little oppressive, just because I'm used to having fewer children and bigger classrooms and only one colleague! The first of my two adult classes cancelled (rescheduling for Thursday, much to my annoyance) but luckily my later adult was able to come in early, so I didn't have to hang around for too long.

On Tuesday I decided that I had had enough of one particular class. To help my co-teacher out, we had agreed last week that I would only teach half a unit at a time to some classes, which meant that the last time I had my MIT class I only had material to fill about half of the time. They were nightmarish. So I prepared: I had a seating plan, developed throughout the day specifically to annoy; I created rules and punishments (most of which involved the confiscation of Talking Club dollars); I printed off a creative writing activity; and I put my best 'angry teacher' face on. It worked! There was no fighting, no shouting; the children were silent (albeit sulky); we got more work done than is usual.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the class, I relaxed the rules and asked the students what they thought had worked during class today. Surprisingly, they came up with many more 'pros' than I could. Then I asked what was bad, and was naturally overwhelmed by the flood of responses. I told them that if they behaved, we would do fun things in class and I would not be as strict; if they continued to fight and shout, my classroom would continue to be a strict and forbidding place. Then we did the “I'm sorry to hear that” activity from the website Strange Lands, and all was well.

Now to get a little bit 'knitty' – please skip this paragraph and move straight on to the pictures if you're not a knitter. Yesterday, after a few days of being on a yarn-shop quest, I made my way to a knitting shop just a couple of minutes' walk away from our flat. It was magical. I bought two skeins of a multicoloured yarn (green, pink and brown; very autumnal), a wooden circular needle (no straights available, which was a bit strange although far from inconvenient), and got started on the Palette pattern from the Knitty website. Currently four or five repeats of the lace pattern in and I'm excited about having a homemade scarf for the winter! The pattern is simple but interesting - YOs on a purl side? Purl-slip-pass? Weird! I hadn't brought any of my own knitting supplies from home, lacking the suitcase space and figuring I'd just go for a year without doing anything, but it was not long at all before I started to get desperate for a pair of needles.

Right: sorry about that, here are some photos. Enjoy your weekend!

And I'm SO sorry for being anticlimactic but we are currently internet-less at home (except for Gmail and Skype) so I'm posting this at work, so I can't upload the photos right now. Check back later. =)

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