Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blah Blah Blogging

Welcome to Tuttle's Five Minute Minutiae Report:

* Well, so Seoul Medical Center faxed a copy of my medical check to the school--I was normal in all respects (yeah, shocked the hell out of me, too) except slightly high blood pressure (yeah, no surprise there). The fax is not good enough for the Immigration Office, so tomorrow morning, I will be skipping my first class to travel all the way to Samseong Station to pick up the original; then, at the end of the day, Mr Hwang will drive me over to Mok-dong to apply for my Alien Registration Card.

* The basic interview lesson went well in every class today--at least as well as could be expected from students who have never had to express an idea of their own in the English language. For instance, wanting to ask, What is your favorite food? one student put down Would you like favorite eat? And this is after modeling "What is your favorite ________?/Who is your favorite ________?" severally.

* That one was easy to figure out, but what do you do with What do you want to buy at first?

* I got to use one of my favorite jokes today (yeah, just TRY to stop me), when the question was "What is your favorite brand?" The kid I picked to respond said "Polo." So I said, "Ah, Polo. By Ralph Lauren. You know why those Polo shirts are so expensive? Because the little guy on the horse is wearing Izod!" Two or three of them actually got it. Eventually.

* Mr Hwang came over after school to tell me about the new medical check/Immigration Office plan and we went downstairs to one of the hofs. We had beer and a sausage plate w/French fries. We talked about how I was enjoying living in Seoul, how I was enjoying the students, etc. Then after a short Korean lesson--focused on word order as emphasis--he told me that the students have responded well to me, even if I have been a challenging teacher. My nickname is "KFC harabuji" or grandfather, so the Col. Sanders thing has expanded to the whole school. He insists it's more my hair style and hair color than my age (Koreans have difficulty figuring the age of foreigners, he says)--plus, KFC harabuji is viewed as a very kind man.

* We also talked about the wide range of fluency among students at Young-Il. It is largely explained by the area served by the school. Students from Mok-dong are wealthy and have parents who have traveled abroad and readily pay for hagwons (private English schools), while Deungchon-dong is solidly middle class, and the neighborhood north of E-Mart is decidedly working class. The advantage of uniforms is that these differences are less noticeable to students; the disadvantage of uniforms is that these differences are less noticeable to teachers.

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