Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I've Got a New Student

And it's my BOSS! Ahhhhhh! I went into work today and the three of them were all talking in Korean, which is not at all unusual, but they kept saying "waygook saram, waygook saram, etc." Waygook saram is ME - it means "foreigner." It piques my interest when I hear that. Perhaps because it's one of the few words I can understand.

Turns out Karen has gotten really gung-ho about learning English, and wants to study with a foreigner once a week. When I heard that, I said, "Oh! That's a good idea!" and Elizabeth asked me "Jenny, will you teach Karen?"

I said "Ah - I can't. I'm busy."

They laughed, because they know I'm not busy and they knew I was joking. But I was really only half joking. I've had many requests to teach private lessons, and I just don't have much interest in it. It's good money, but illegal. I'm not overly concerned about the legality of it, but I'm quite lazy and feel like my teachers' dance card is filled with the amount of teaching I'm doing at school (and at home, with *&@^#% phone-teaching.)

During my first class, though, I thought about what a schmuck I am, and how lame it is for Karen to have to go seek out some other waygook saram to help her out, when she has a perfectly good waygook saram under her nose. So I told her during the first break that of course, I would study with her.

So we'll meet once a week after classes for an hour. I stayed after work and talked to her about it. We decided that I could just sort out lesson plans and homework and review material online, but having spent about 2 and a half hours tonight looking stuff up, and not coming up with too much that will be helpful, I'm thinking I'm going to ask her if it's cool I take a trip downtown tomorrow night and see if I can find a suitable text for us to work with. I asked her a couple times to think of things that she'd specifically like to work on, and she wrote down: _______ from ______, and _______ where ______. I'm not entirely sure what that means. Prepositions? I know we need to work on some vocabulary building, and I did find a couple of interesting ideas on the web, so with a little more photocopying I should be good to go for our first lesson on Wednesday.

Everytime my co-workers complain about how they want to learn English, but it's soooooo difficult, I tell them "practice." The 10 minute breaks we have throughout the day, and the time before and after work is a good time to practice their conversation skills with me (not to mention it makes me feel more included at work.) but they say their English is "so bad!" I really think it just takes more effort for them to try to speak English when they'd rather be relaxing a little bit before the next class. I dig. But still,...

When I first started here, actually, I was expected to come in almost 3 hours before the 1st class, have a sit down lesson with the other co-workers for an hour, then lunch together, and then planning for the classes. Lunch was great. One of the kid's moms, a really great cook, made us homestyle Korean lunches everyday. Deeelish. It was a big drag for me, however, that I sat in the middle of everyone and they almost never attempted to speak English. They chatted it up and laughed together in Korean, without even telling me what it was they were talking about. I would try to initiate conversations, but after a couple minutes, one of them would say something in Korean and then they were off and running again.

Those lessons were cancelled when the cook got a job which meant she didn't have time anymore to cook for us. Instead of making other arrangements, Karen just cancelled the whole thing, which was fine by me. The other teachers whined because then lunch was up to them, and it was like their wallets were taking a hit.

I've rambled.

This new deal is a better situation for me. Karen's told me I'll get extra pay, but I don't really care about that to be honest. It's good to be teaching an adult again. I used to love adult classes in Japan. It helped keep my grammar skills sharp. It'll be nice to have a weekly conversations with Karen, as well. She's a very nice woman. She's even suggested we go around the corner for a nice bowl of dolsot bibimbap after our lesson. Good call!
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*photo borrowed from grilled aubergine.

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