Korea First Days, Teaching–2

March 9, 2000

Funny thing today.  I am never strict (to my detriment, sometimes)–but by mistake I seemed strict to my students.  I went down my attendance list, marking only absent people.  I happened to pick up a red pen, so I used that.  I marked absent names with F, because I thought it was Friday.  (It wasn’t, though; it was Thursday.)  Later, a girl who was absent came to my office to say she was sorry for being absent, and her friend had told her I marked an F next to her name.  They both thought it meant Fail!  She was so contrite.  It was great!

I forgave her, but I shouldn’t have.  Her story was lame.  She said she thought class started at 10:30, not 9:30.  I don’t think so.

March 10, 2000

Last night, I was getting ready for bed.  I was thinking how funny it was that one guy in Language Practice III said he will be either a furniture salesman or a movie director, he’s not sure which.

I thought, I would love to have someone at home to tell that story to, to laugh with.  Wouldn’t it make work more enjoyable, to have someone to talk to, share with, laugh with?

. . .

Yesterday I saw a nice sight on my way home.  It was about 5:15, and I passed a man sitting on a bench in the little patch of woods between the administration building and my office building.

I’d never noticed that pair of benches, in the woods at the top of the hill, facing away from the path.

What a nice pair of benches, I thought.  I could sit on one of those benches in the woods, thinking, not-thinking.  Taking a breather.

March 11, 2000

In four of my seven classes, the books I ordered are not available in Korea.  So, I have no books.  But I’m not devastated, just a little scared.

It was Ji Yeon Park’s suggestion not to make the students buy a book.  I’m not sure why.  Save them money?  Or maybe she feels–as she said!–that a book is unnecessary.  Although I felt that was easy for her to say, when she didn’t have to teach the class, I realized she’s kind of right.  They need to talk.

But they need something to talk about, and I can’t provide that kind of ongoing stimulus.  I will use Family Album USA for my basic structure.  I found a copy of the video series in my office cabinet.  What luck!  I’ve used it before and I like it a lot.  Students like it too.

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