Introducing “Your Daily Shot of Soju” This is going to be my daily format for sharing random cultural thoughts, pictures and basically anything I want to in an easy to digest and read format. Expect to be updated Monday-Thursday, and probably once on the weekend. Yes, I changed the name. I like this one better.
Something for you to read:
In a survey circulated through the classrooms of my sixth graders I was rated as one of the students favorite teachers. On one hand I feel pretty excited about this. However on the other I have to question what are the characteristics of a sixth graders favorite teacher.
Sixth graders typically don’t like homework. I don’t give them any.
They typically don’t like grades. I generally don’t do that either.
Compared to my competition, who has to squeeze in ten different subjects areas per day, my tasks are fairly mundane. I get to play games with the kids. My class is the one where speaking and making jokes is encouraged. I am essentially a 40 minute Barney episode, and honestly, I have taken my general teaching philosophy this year from the makers of ‘Blue’s Clues.’ So much so that, on days that I teach 3rd graders, I make sure to wear a horizontally striped polo shirt and speak to a green puppet frog named “Froggy the Frog” at least twice per class.
My style is unmatched.
But this is where my professional development breaks down. While I suppose I am doing the best I can with the amount of time and resources I have been given, professionally this job doesn’t not allow me to develop a substance to my teaching. Tom Robbins once wrote something about style being the basis of essence but I bet he also was never charged with teaching over 1,000 Korean students English every week. In fact I suspect he would disparage the job I am doing. He would call it “imperialistic” and “arrogant” to assume our language and culture needs to be transported to the other side of the world…the number one export of America, after all, is it’s culture.
Perhaps it is arrogant in some regard, but really, substance wise how much culture and language can I really force upon these kids. I am resigned. Resigned to the fact that in the short amount of time I have to teach I can really not impart any significant, substantial knowledge to these students. So instead I act excited. I act energetic and fun. I do this to try and trick students into wanting to learn English on their own. I am not an English teacher so much as I am an English salesman.
Here, I can not really teach the substance of Western culture but I can teach it’s style. Besides, I’ll be damned if those kids don’t crack up at the “silly foreigner” when I talk to that green puppet frog.
I showed this video to Rachel and she said that this sort of thing is actually kind of common in Korean politics. I was surprised.
About yesterday’s election:
The mayor (former) of Seoul is the president (new) of South Korea. Really, no shocker. He had been the front runner for months now and not even a split in his party or a video released earlier this week, linking him to stock market manipulation, could change his eventual win.
The election system here calls for a run off vote if the first place nominee gains less than 50 percent of the vote. Because of this, 3rd parties receive a larger share of the vote. Despite this, Lee won handily.
Piece of pop culture I’m diggin on today:
Winter Break…school doesn’t start again til the end of January.
Piece of pop culture I miss today:
Winter break that is really a winter break. Even though school is off for a month I still need to come in for a few hours each day, otherwise this month off counts against my days off that I can take. This rule applies only to me since I’m not counted as a normal teacher, who is a life long employee of the government. Additionally, I am expected to lead an English winter camp for a few weeks.
Another Piece of pop culture I’m diggin on:
Even though I need to be at school during parts of the break I can use this to my advantage. If I stay longer than 4 hours I can get over time pay. So I doubled up on my winter camp. Basically, I teach the winter camp once in the morning and then teach the exact same lesson in the afternoon and get paid twice…I’ll be able to make another 1 to 2 thousand dollars next month doing this.
Wayne and Garth say…SCHWINGGGG!
Because South Korea is Infested with them:
How to kill a bear.