The Substitute Part 2

1997 in Seoul, South Korea

There's not much I can say about what it's like to try to teach English to little kids that hasn't already been blogged to death. Of course the dang rug rats was cute and all. We had some laughs and some brawls. Some loved me and some hated me. So instead of scrawling out all the details of each day and each class, I'll list out some of the high points and some of the low points.

First the low:

-Riding that motorcycle around in the cold. Worse was riding it around in the rain.

-I had one stop with a brother and a sister. Ages 5 and 3. They had no English at all. They had no interest in learning it. They had no interest in me. They roused rabble and messed around the whole time. Their mom would pop into the room (their bedroom) from time to time and yell at them. She would also tell me to yell at them and discipline them into studying. Riiiiiight.

-One day on the way to one of the classes that was quite far out into the boonies from Mokdong, I was riding the motorcycle in the motorcycle lane (you know, basically in the gutter next to the curb). As I came around a corner, a huge truck was making the same turn and came wide enough so I had to slam my brakes to keep from getting rolled under the enormous front wheel. I nearly kissed it goodbye that day.

-In class at the institute one day. The kids were teasing me on account of the baldness up top. We teased back and forth while trying to learn some words to describe each other. Things degenerated when I crossed the line and told one student (strongest English speaker in the class) he needed to work on his English. He lost it. He started bawling miserably in front of the whole class. I tried saying I was only joking, but he grabbed my cheek with his little hand and squeezed and scratched as hard as he could while screaming at me. My face hurt but I felt bad the kid had taken it so hard. He calmed down some and class ended. We walked out and there was the hagwon owner. He saw the kid's tears, he saw my red scratched face, what could I say? I put my arm around the kid and told the teacher in my slowest clearest English that this kid "is the smartest in my class." Oh boy.

-I had a private class with 4 high school freshmen. On the last day of my 3 week stint with them, they pestered the whole hour to play games. I understand why they didn't want to go through another boring lesson in the book and it likely had very little to do with it being my last day. I finally gave in and broke out some card game. Mom came in and was not pleased. She got angry with me in front of the kids and told me they were high school kids and didn't need to play games. She said she wasn't paying me to play games with them. Her English was hurtfully good right then...

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