Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Coteachers and Dental Hygiene

This is my 5th grade co-teacher!- I call her Jenny. She's wonderful.

These are my other 3 co-teachers- I call them Sue, SJ, and Sophia!  They're great!


Today was a great day!  I taught 4 5th grade classes this morning.  It was pretty uneventful.  It was better than yesterday's classes I think.  Yesterday I presented a powerpoint presentation that I had not seen before- my coteacher said she had one made with our vocabulary on it so I could use that for teaching comparisons.  I meant to look at it before class, but I forgot.  Anyway, after getting through taller/shorter, older/younger, etc., I come to bigger/smaller.  The example sentences were "My eyes are bigger than yours." and "My eyes are smaller than yours," and these included pictures of Asian characters.  All the kids thought it was hilarious, but I thought it was kind of offensive haha.  I also accidentally clotheslined a kid yesterday.  Before each class can leave, each child has to answer a "password"/vocabulary phrase to get past me at the door.  Yesterday, this one kid looked really scared.  I was passing someone else out, and this kid decided to make a run for it.  As he was about to bolt past me at the door, on absolute reflex I stuck my arm out and clotheslined this poor 6th grader.  I felt really bad, but I felt worse when my co-teacher was like, "oh, he doesn't speak English.  He just moved here from China.  That kid has no idea what's going on."  Haha oops.

Anyway, today was a great day.  At lunch today, I ate octopus.  I don't think I actually would have gotten it if I knew what it was, but I was deceived in the lunch line (I thought it was baby corn hah) and after I sat down I realized I'd taken a huge spoonful of octopus tentacles.  They were surprisingly good with rice, but they weirded me out a little bit.  My Korean lunch friend, Jenny, also taught me about cleaning products today.  I asked her for help because I can't figure out what I need to buy to wipe off my counters or clean the bathroom- all the cleaning products look exactly the same to me and all the labels are in Korean.  I've yet to wipe my counters with anything but water, and it's beginning to really gross me out.  She is so helpful!

This afternoon I had another moment where I thought there must be a hidden camera somewhere.  I was sitting at my desk working on a lesson plan when the principal comes over talking to me in English that I apparently did not understand. I clearly said the wrong thing or nodded at the wrong time, and then he goes, "Andie come." So I jumped up and followed him to the the large sink area outside the bathroom where he proceeded to give me a demonstration on brushing my teeth.  I'm not sure what I did to deserve that awkward moment, but I watched intently as he told me about dental hygiene in Konglish.  I don't brush my teeth after lunch, and I think that someone must have caught on to this fun fact.  As my friend Rachel told me, however, "sometimes you just have to play the foreigner card," and I'm still not planning on packing my toothbrush every morning.

After school, I went with all the teachers and administration to a duck restaurant.  The dinner was for all new teachers and administrators and, apparently, me.  I wasn't really aware of this until I had to stand up and "say something."  Although no one knows what I am saying, for some reason this makes me really uncomfortable.  I've already had to go on morning announcements and "introduce myself" at two faculty meetings to the same people.  So tonight, I stood up and start with "Hi." and everyone goes "Hi!!" because I think that's the only word some of them even know.  Anyway, I made up a little speech then sat down.  I sat with my English co-teachers on the floor at the end of this very long little table.  They are SO nice!  The entire dinner they were telling me about the food, and laughing with  me as I struggled with chopsticks.  The dinner was amazing- it was kimchi, duck in salad, duck on a grill, baked duck, and some sort of duck casserole, salads, soups, beer, soju, and sodas.  I was practically soju hazed by a vice principal.  I'm not a huge soju fan, but I took my shot like a champ.  I also was given beer and strawberry wine.  Everyone was so generous and so helpful.  They are so concerned that I am lonely and miss home- they are always inquiring into what I do and if I want to go places or meet people.  One of the teachers has 2 children in college and she wants me to go out with them- she was so excited when I said I did indeed want to make Korean friends.  I remember just sitting there looking around at dinner and thinking that it was absolutely amazing- I was having so much fun and I was thinking I didn't know how I could go back to the States and have a regular office job after this much excitement.  The food is amazing, the people are so wonderful, and everything is just so relaxing and new.  

After dinner, the teacher who bought my microwave for me and read me the instruction manual (refer to older post), gave me a bottle of Pepsi he took from the restaurant, and my co-teachers invited me to go get coffee with them.  We walked to a coffee shop and sat for over an hour talking.  Two of them are a little older (even though they don't look like it at all!) and both have two teenage daughters.  One of them, Jenny, kind of reminds me of my mom.  She's very concerned about me, and although she is my co-worker, I do let her mother me some.  It's kind of nice to have that.  The other two are both very young and cool.  All of them speak very good English.  They say they don't, but I always understand what they are saying so I think it's fine.  They tell me places to go, what I need to see in Korea, and how to navigate the city.  I'm so happy they are so nice to me and so helpful - I feel so lucky to be here!

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