Saturday, April 9, 2011

No Party? (15 February)

After the excitement of yesterday, today almost seems boring and tedious.  The novelty of desk-warming has quickly worn off and, despite having had copious amounts of time to work on my blog, I’m eager to get back to a regular teaching schedule once more.  Mr Jeong’s visit to our office provides a brief respite from the monotony of the day and it’s a welcome distraction to chat for a few minutes.

Naturally, the conversation turns to the events of the previous day.  Fortunately, the teacher is okay and NZ1, NZ2 and I half-heartedly joke that she’ll probably be back at school by the next day despite the severity of yesterday’s experience – it’s simply the Korean way.  As we talk about the situation, NZ2 comments that Six-pack, who was the nearest teacher at the time, must have been a bit shocked to find this particular teacher had collapsed.  Mr Jeong then tells us that when the students first went to the classroom to call Six-pack, he thought that their story of a teacher having collapsed was little more than a ruse to get him somewhere else.  Being Valentine’s Day, and Six-pack being a popular male teacher for obvious reasons, he thought that some students had arranged some type of surprise party for him and this was their excuse to get him to the location – apparently some students do throw surprise parties for popular teachers on days such as this.  Naturally, with his cheeky grin and devilish flirtations, he joked back and forth with these students who were increasingly insistent that a teacher had, in fact, collapsed and needed help.  When he finally stepped out of the classroom as a result of their insistence, he was rather surprised – and maybe humbled? – to discover that this was no ruse to cover a surprise party: He really was needed to assist another teacher.  According to Mr Jeong, Six-pack was rather shaken by the events….

I take this opportunity to ask Mr Jeong is he knows anything about the new English teachers for our school or if it’s still too early to know who is being transferred to the Foreign Language High School.  Teachers are only allowed to remain at a school for a maximum of six years before being transferred to another school elsewhere in the province.  I know that Mr Lee, one of my co-teachers, is leaving and another English teacher who taught the third grade students has been granted a transfer to Jeonju but I’m curious about who is coming in and how this will change the dynamics of the department.  He tells us that we’re getting four new English teachers: All female, two in their early 40s, one new graduate and one just for admin.  I can’t help but feel sorry for the teacher who has been hired solely for admin in the English department!

With no other excitements in the day, I’m relieved when another slow day of desk-warming finally draws to an end and I head home looking forward to tonight’s dinner with our Kiwi-mom, her husband and my Canadian friends who have offered to fetch me from my apartment at 17:20.  I feel ridiculously overdressed for dinner but don’t really feel up to changing – and I don’t really have time to change either. 

Had it not been for the ‘casual’ remarks of several teachers recently that I no longer dress up for school, I would probably have been dressed in jeans and sweater as usual during the vacation period.  In an effort to prove my teachers wrong, I’ve donned a blazer, smart skirt and blouse and boots – today’s outfit kicks butt and I’m rewarded with a rather embarrassingly slow once over by Six-pack while I chat to Mr Baek who has just returned from his trip to England.  My friends seem to find this story rather amusing when I explain the reason for my formal dress as our Kiwi-mom puts the final touches on the most amazing home-cooked dinner I’ve had since arriving in Korea nearly four months ago.

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