First Day of Class

May 1, 1987. KHI Institute. Pusan, South Korea.

I was more than a tad nervous walking into a classroom for the first time as a teacher. I certainly didn't feel like one (I didn't feel like a lecturer either, but that is what Mr. 신 insisted on calling me). Under my arm I clutched the textbook that I would come to despise before too long. Mr. 신 advised me to plan to cover one lesson each day. Each lesson started out with a dialog. I picked on a few students and asked them each to read a part. I would help or correct them if they stumbled. Then we would all go through the comprehension portion together. After that, I had them go through the exercises with a partner. And I ended the hour with with some general question and answer time.

All in all it was not a terrible day; just a bit awkward to say the least. But when the text uses a word that the instructor (lecturer) has never heard before, some credibility is lost. It's unavoidable.

So many details of that day are forgotten. So many details not recorded in my brain or in my journal. Somehow I distinctly recall seeing the word "lorry" in the textbook and panicking. I had no clue what it meant and I couldn't figure it out from the context of the lesson. None of the students knew the word either, and I feebly tried to pass it off as legit that I didn't know it because it was a British English word. I'm not sure which lie they believed less; that one, or the story that I was really 28 years old by American age.

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