Please don’t eat the magnets, children.

Posted on Posted in South Korea

Let’s talk about my life. Some new updates around these parts!

A new girl moved into our house. Coincidentally, her name is Ashley (like me) and she hails from Winnepeg (like Marisa). So now our house is like some sort of damn venn diagram. It’s slightly crowded, although that’s a fairly selfish thing to say. The roomie and I have spent the entirety of the past 12 months living in a 3 bedroom apartment, while another teacher from our school lives a few floors below us with her husband, mother-in-law, and two daughters in a space identical to ours. I think it’s fair to say that by Korean standards we have more than enough space. But still, the three of us now share one shower- which has been a problem since she got here last Monday and we’ve been working the same hours, hence waking up to take showers at the same time. Good thing for these ladies that I basically need 20 minutes prep time, max, so I always take the last shower.  And I don’t really believe in washing my hair too often. Maybe I’m over sharing…anyway. The fact that we all go to work at the same time has been an issue, until today.

Today I started my new working hours. 11:30am-7:30 pm. Yes, two weeks before I fly back to that magical land of America, the school has given me a new position, where I teach half Little RT classes to the kindergarten, and half Big RT classes to elementary kids.  I can’t say I particularly enjoy it. The word I think that best describes it for me would be “hollow”…I have no homeroom, so no real responsibilities to care for the children outside of the classroom. And the big kids rotate in then out of the school every hour and a half all evening, so there is little, if any, interaction outside of my 45 minute classes with them. Yeah, I can sleep in a little bit, but if this morning is any indication, I mostly just sleep an extra 40 minutes, then wake up alone in my house and putter around reading/showering/internet-ing until it’s time to go to work. Then I work till late and fill like I’ve missed out on something, although I haven’t.  Also, it’s pretty strange to start my day teaching a pair of 3 year olds (the only students I currently teach in the kindergarten) and ending it teaching a class of ten 15 year olds. All in all it’s interesting, and there are some positives-less prep work for one, the older kids have a very rigid schedule and tons of workbook busy work-but I think I prefer the old job and all the craziness of being in charge of my own class of the babies. But that’s not my choice. And I’m leaving! So there.

Let’s talk some more about my little tiny babies on the Little RT side. When I say I’m teaching a pair of 3 year olds, I’m really not exaggerating. They are in the “5” year class (kindy is only divided into 5s,6s,7s) but with *Korean aging they are definitely only 3. Barely.  They are adorable, and I teach them every day before and after lunch. It is equal parts amusement and utter frustration-they are far too young to be in school! These two should be in day care, scribbling with crayons and sipping juice boxes while watching Sesame Street  (the Korean equivalent, obviously). Edward and Lucy, while arguably two of the cutest children in all of humanity’s existence, are being thrust into that crazy Korean education machine, and they can barely speak any Korean, let alone English. I know, I know, I am the teacher, that’s my job. And of course they have malleable little 3-year-old brains, which works in my favor. However, I’ve spent the past week of this new school year holding  the pencils for them, taking the “letter A” magnets out of Edward’s mouth when we were trying to learn the “ah, ah” sound, consoling them/handing them off to a Korean when they start screaming for Mom, and conducting 3/4 of my class in Korean while plying them with chocolates to make them color things. And no, I am not fluent in Korean. But I’ve been using my shallow reserves (maybe not that shallow, I’ve studied a lot this year!) of their language to get them to do things like sit down, stop eating the picture cards, don’t say poop, etc. So far, they can kind of say their own names, plus girl, boy, bug, and ball. Well, not really bug, so much. The other ones for sure.  Score! I can only hope that the next teacher that comes just loooooooves little babies like I do, or they are going to be MISERABLE.

*Koreans consider an infant to be one year old when they are born. Every year thereafter they gain a year. Depending on the month you are born, this means that Koreans are 1 to 2 years older in Korea than they are in the rest of the world. For example, a child born in October would be 1 year old on the day of their birth, then turn 2 only three months later, on January 1st. And the western world would still only consider them 3 months old.   I’m 25 internationally, but 27 in Korea.  How bout that!

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