Ralph, did you eat your paste?

Trip Start Feb 12, 2006
Trip End Mar 02, 2007

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Flag of Korea Rep.  ,
Saturday, March 18, 2006

My life has been reduced to this: laminating machines, photocopiers, lunchboxes and disnfectant. As much as the little buggers are adorable, I'm going to choke the next person to crawl over my shoulder whining "Kathryyyyyyyn Teacheeeeeeeeer, I want bassloooooom now!" In fact, I'm going to choke the next person to say anything to me at all. Not that it's all bad, I mean, I got a biscuit today. And at least 30 seconds to sit down and think without a single other soul in the room. And, I got one whole toilet break. It's things like these that make the twelve hours chasing other people's brats around non-stop brandishing coloured crayons and construction paper all worth it. I'm even experiencing the joy that only truly comes when you're lying awake at two in the morning wracked with guilt because you haven't made new sticker charts for the little darlings. Tomorrow I get to review the short vowels sounds for 80 minutes at a time all over again. Starting from the beginning of course - it would appear their brains are like the proverbial sieve. Knowledge disappears from their heads in the same magical way money disappears from my wallet.
Perhaps I'm just being impatient. I mean, what is four hours of drilling worth in this day and age anyway? They're so easily distracted. One of the upshots of their overexcitablilty however, is that when I have extra time to fill and I'm lacking the capacity to think in a straight line for more than five seconds, I know I can throw a pack of alphabet flash cards all over the classroom and just sit back and watch them wrestle each other to put them back in order.
It also occurs to me that my job would be a lot easier if the parents of aformentioned little geniuses would possiblly bugger the hell off. Yes, I'm aware you think your child is an infant prodigy, but he still has real issues putting his own coat on at the end of class. Therefore your suggestion to fast-track his learning to accommodate his vast intellect, must, alas, be turned down. And while you're at it, teach the little grot to cover his mouth when he coughs and sneezes and that wiping boogers on the desk is not acceptable at school, however much it is applauded at home. The parents tell the kids one thing, we tell them another, and the poor little buggers have no idea what is up or what is down. It seems parents inability to just let teachers get on with their jobs is universal. One parent called and asked that I give her son extra lunch because he was always hungry - when the kid never finishes his lunch in the first place. She also gave him the English name Rex, which is pretty rocking as far as things go - if only he didn't have an unfortuante speech impediment that makes him refer to himself as Lesh.
It's ridiculous how much pressure the parents put on these kids. I had one that couldn't come to school one day because he was so stressed he was throwing up. I also had another parent pull her son from the school because he wasn't topping the class. Newsflash guys, not everyone can be number one.
Ah. As much as I bitch though, there are some really huge rewards. My pre-schoolers now trot into class, tug on my sleeve and say "Teacher, the short vowels are a,e,i,o,u. Rhyming words have the same ending." So obviously the drills are working. I also have one kid who looks as thick as a short plank, but has recently proved he has fantastic comprehension. If only he was co-ordinated enough to hold his damn pencil. On the other hand I have another boy who starts every class with "Hello teacher, why do you want to be a teacher?" to which I reply "To boss you around." His next question inevitably is "Why do you want to be a fire station?" It stumps me every time.
I suppose it also goes without saying that teaching the morning after you get absolutely tanked doing soju shots until 3.30am is a little more difficult than usual.
Having a lung infection is also a pretty big drawback, but at least that will pass.
At the end of the day I know that if I'm not coping I can offer them a deck of uno cards and everything will be ok. Sick as it is, I actually enjoy coming to work, cos I get to spend hours playing with little people who think I'm fabulous. And I get to boss them around. I have one little girl who makes her mum call me to say "Alice thinks you have beautiful hair like a princess." I have a boy who likes to give me a kiss on the hand before the first lesson of the day. Even when they're naughty and crying they're still delicious.
If only they'd shut up when I'm hungover.
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