Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teach Me Easy

And so it begins with a typhoon.

Technically, I guess, it began yesterday, the day the typhoon was supposed to hit and then continued today, actual typhoon day, during which it rained half-heartedly and gusted a little more than normal. If this is what a Korean typhoon is, I am unimpressed.

But this year’s students are already shaping up to be an interesting bunch. In my 9:00 Monday class I have group “Power Rangers” of five boys whose English names are (chosen in an instant, mind you) Frog, T.O.P (name of Korean pop singer), Kancho, Zombie, and Twinkle. In yesterday’s level testing of the junior class, we had one student beg, “Teach me easy.” Luckily for him, he’s going to someone else’s class. Maybe.

Working at Kosin—and perhaps working abroad in general—is madness. “Fluid” might be a more polite way of putting it. I found out less than a month ago which classes I was teaching when. Less than a week ago, I got some of the books, and less than a day ago, I was still figuring out what exactly the classes were supposed to be about. There are still things I don’t know—how many students in each class, their ability, what book to use, when the books I ordered will actually be here and—naturally—what else will crop up in the next 24 hours.

For instance only five students out of twenty showed up this morning for my 10:00. The excuse?

 “So windy day, go to school is very difficult, Was allowed to the back of the class to the professors canceled. Sorry to think it is too profit convenience only.”

Flexibility, fluidity, madness—all are virtues for teaching at Kosin. Bending with the winds, but not breaking. So that when a typhoon hits, it’s not really that extraordinary.

(But my dream about the typhoon last night was. Scene:
            Dad sat up, startled in his cafĂ© seat.
            “Did you see that?!” he gasped. “They just dumped a dead body in the river!” He pointed out the window behind me at the raging river splashing half over and half under a bridge. A car drove away, disappearing instantly.
            I shrugged. “Guess that makes sense. If I were going to drop a dead body somewhere that’s about where I’d put it…”
            But I stayed glued to the window, searching for the body amidst the waves. Two mini-tornados swirled into existence—a twisting morass of water and air that cleared out the river bed. There was no corpse.

Clearly I wanted this typhoon to be a little more epic than it is.)

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