Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This wasn't in my contract.

Sherlock Academy decided it would offer another round of classes—listening and conversation classes for "middle school" students looking to enter a foreign language high school. (Note well that "middle school" students here are older than the ones in the US.) What was once my free period at the end of the day to mark tests and plan lessons is now spent with awkward, pimply Korean pubescents. The plus is that they already speak some English, and speak better than the rest of my students. A Korean I talked to last weekend at a language exchange said that kids who go to foreign language high schools are usually pretty smart, and I'd agree: they absolutely demolished the listening exercises and finished so quickly that I didn't know what else to do.

The problem is that the class doesn't start until 7.50 PM, when they've already been in classes all day. None of them want to speak, none of them have any energy, they're pretty much just zombies by this point. Which makes my job pretty awkward, to say the least. I was excited about the possibility of actually having a meaningful conversation with my students but it looks like that's not going to happen right away. I tried to ask them about their weekends but they gave me really lame answers; a full three-quarters of the class played video games. No Starcraft, though, contrary to popular belief.

I share the class with a middle school teacher (Sherlock Academy is sort of a joint venture; Sherlock teaches English and its sister school [let's call it Watson Academy] teaches pretty much everything else) and he was kind(?) enough to tell me that one of the students was upset to learn that his teacher was going to be a woman. Yeah. This country. Of course, I did have another student earlier in the year who seemed equally distressed by my foreignness, but now he seems to have warmed to me, so we'll see how this goes.

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