WTF?! Wednesday ~ Mrs. Lee, What Planet You From?

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since posting my last WTF?! Wednesday jam because I was on a wondrous trip to Bali followed by a big move out of North Korea.  But, I’m back today! And happier than ever because A) I just found some new bedding so my apartment will slowly stop looking like a college dorm, and B) because CORI is coming to visit me at the end of the month!!! She’s coming to Seoul and then we are planning to pop on over to Tokyo since I have a long weekend in the beginning of October. WEEEEE!!

Now onto this week in WTFness! I actually took these photos 2 weeks ago when I was forced to co-teach (if you could even call it that), with the laziest, sloppiest, most absurd ajumma (old Korean woman) I’ve ever come in contact with.  I feel she, her wardrobe and just general demeanor are well deserving of their own post.

I am actually unsure if her name is really Mrs. Lee because she never even responded when I called her by “name”, but that’s what she told me it was… that one time she actually spoke to me. That brief moment in time was very brisk and almost non-existent.  It was like she couldn’t be bothered to be around a dirty foreigner. She didn’t ask my name, didn’t say hello, but just tossed me this handwritten questionnaire and ran away.  If you are confused, on the left side it says “Question 1-5”, and on the right it says “Answer”. So, I did as was asked of me and wrote her 5 questions that I was burning to know about her, expecting to receive some awe-inspiring answers in return.  Never got those.

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Then came the time to meet and do something called TEACH the students. You’d think that one would dress presentable for a day on the job, and also be a little more involved. But no no. Not “Mrs. Lee”. She showed up to work like so and carried on in the back of class reading the newspaper and catching up on some zzzzz’s. She also walked into each class carrying a box of glue sticks and a mug filled with pens that she never used.

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The only bit of teaching that “Mrs. Lee” did was when she began class.  She started by yelling at the students, followed by hitting a few so hard on the head, and finally, wrote a grammatically correct phrase on the board for the students to repeat 10 times. Only they weren’t grammatical at all, and the students knew it.  Her phrase choices were stupid, to put things bluntly.

In the first 6th grade class the phrase was “How you?”, the second was “Where from?” and the last (which she finally got right!) was “Be quiet”, also quite suiting for that particular class, but that’s neither here nor there.  I began class by asking the students how to correct their “teacher’s” English.

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One of the biggest things that qualifies this as a WTF?! moment is the fact that she had ZERO idea of how to use a computer. She didn’t know what a mouse was or what to call the monitor. I know that she is older, but I found it bizarre that Jin had to spend a good portion of her time teaching “Mrs. Lee” the basic vocabulary that accompanies this technology that’s so abundant in our lives. Actually, the Vice Principal wanted me to teach “Mrs. Lee” how to teach, but I refused. My job is to teach the students, not to teach the teacher how to be a teacher. Especially when she had applied for this position under the pretenses that she was a teacher.  Oh, and because she couldn’t be bothered to even ask me my name.

On top of no basic computer knowledge, she also refused to eat in the cafeteria with everyone else, but instead conned a student into bringing her lunch in her classroom, which the Vice Principal was outraged about. She also STOLE one of the 3rd grade point frogs and one of the 6th grade point monkeys off our progress board. A token of her time as a teacher, perhaps?

If I can find it within myself to find one thing that I am pleased with in regards to “Mrs. Lee”, it’s that I strongly believe she brought me closer to my 6th graders. They are usually too cool for school, but having her there really made them appreciate me and hands were actually shooting up to volunteer, which NEVER happens.  So thank you for that wacko lady!

Alas, those two WTF weeks came and went, and now I have a brand new co-teacher named Shin hye and she’s young and sweet and pretty and I’m excited to have permanency once again!

Planet Moron Round 2

Remember this guy?

Well, it appears that I have been served up a second serving of him, and it tastes just as foul as I remember.  My school  A) doesn’t care about the English its students are learning and B) travels to planet Moron to retrieve specimens of idiot to throw into a classroom with me and see how well I can tolerate their just.standing.there.doing.nothing.  I AM NOT HAPPY. Especially when I had finally been graced with a young, lovely, SMART, new co-teacher who had a strong enough grasp of the English language and a spectacular eagerness to learn more. Hong-Eon was my new little dream boat and she was snatched away before I could even say “Thank you”.  Good thing I didn’t get a chance to.

A homeroom teacher in the 3rd grade had to go and get pregnant (the nerve!!!….totally jk) and the school decided that since Hong-Eon is young and new she could be moved easily, so that’s what they did.  The Vice Principal actually asked her if she knew anyone looking for a job and could fill in for a month and a half, regardless of their ability to speak English, just so they could finish out the semester, and a new English co-teacher would be hired at the new semester in September.  She and I were both severely annoyed by that.  The school ended up posting the job opening somewhere, and that’s where they got this guy.  Thankfully he’s only here for a month and a half, but still.

When I met him, my principal actually told me (thru Jin), to learn Korean so that I can help him out since his English is really poor.  Excuse me, but I am here to teach English to the students, not do my job AND his job for him.  During the upcoming year I’ll probably finally get my ass into gear and  take some Korean classes, but I’m definitely not going to say anything to the school, especially after they said this.  I was so irritated by that comment.  What nerve! Hire someone who is qualified for the job they are applying to work, not just to have a body fill a space.

I know I have come into this situation with preconceived notions about the whole arrangement, but so far it’s shaping up just as it did last year with Mr. Jang…  Me leading all of my 3rd and 6th grade classes with a man who literally stands in front of the classroom leaning against the white board not paying attention to the lesson or the kids in the class.  Not picking up on cues to their lack of understanding and need of translation.  Him not disciplining them at all, even while he’s standing directly in front of them and they have not responded to my scolding in English. And me jumping around like a monkey between touchscreen and handing out points because he doesn’t help out AT ALL, even after I’ve asked him to multiple times. Worthless!!!

I have also picked up on some of his mannerisms at lunch, and I just think he hates kids. He makes weird faces whenever they’re messing around and doing things kids do with each other, and it annoys me. Maybe that’s just one of my weird neuroses, but it does.

I’m trying to breathe and bare with the fact that I only have about a month-ish left with him.  I’m just crossing my heart and hope to die that my school pulls through and hires someone like Hong-Eon or Jin for the coming semester.  It makes a world of difference teaching with someone you have a rapport with, and someone who even if they can’t speak perfect English, they are willing and eager to learn from you and work together. 

PRETTY PLEASE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP!