Monday, March 21, 2011

Club Saturday

On Saturday, I met up with Nick and The Stumbler for some pre-season baseball at Mok-dong yagu-jang, Home of the Heroes.

The hapless Heroes (Oh, come on now, it's not even the real season yet!) took a drubbing from the very mediocre LG Twins, something like 8 or 9 to nothing. But that doesn't really matter. It was baseball, it was springtime, it was the sun on our backs!

That's pretty much my modus operandi (or em-oh as we fans of Adam-12 called it in my childhood) on a Saturday in spring. Ballgame or park or market. My SMOE contract is Monday through Friday. I know I taught the public speaking class on Saturdays last semester, but that was fall and winter. It was also a big sacrifice, even if the remuneration was pretty boss.

For Korean students and teachers, however, Saturday is still a school day. At least the first and third Saturdays, and the fifth if applicable, and at least until noon. The alternate Saturdays, 놀토 nol-to, are a day when they can go to hagwons early.

At my school, Saturday is club day. Music, art, yearbook, magazine, etc. So it at least lacks some of the drudgery of Korean-style math or "self-study"--though I suspect there is both a math and a self-study club. And maybe even a self-study math club.

Anyway, I found myself in a rather awkward situation last week, on account of club day. Twice, actually. Here's what happened.

Towards the end of lunch on Wednesday, a group of six or so freshyears came to my class, nervous and polite, the way they are, and presented me with a perfectly written letter asking me to ... sponsor an "English movie-watching club" on Saturdays. They even had a list of objectives.

Then on Friday, one of the seniors--one with very passable standard English skills--asked me if I would form an English Conversation club for Saturdays.

Well, what would you do, Dear Reader?
a) Laugh in their faces and ask if they can share whatever mind-altering drug they've obviously taken.
b) Become so touched by the desire of these students to speak English that in an ill-considered gust of emotion you say "Yes".
c) Pretend you don't understand English, and just repeat "Mulayo, mulayo". Then, when they switch to Korean, you switch to French.
d) Tactfully explain that they have a great idea for a club, but the [mean old] government won't pay you to work on Saturdays, so you aren't allowed to do it; however, you will talk to the "Administration Department" and see if a suitable teacher can be found.
e) Tell Minsu that he's welcome to come by during lunch for a chat like 'Harry' used to do, or Taewon. Just have some ideas to talk about and understand that sometimes it's not convenient.
f) Angrily phone up your "handler", cussing out him or her for failing to prevent these pesky students from bothering you during the five minutes of peace and quiet you get during the lunch break.


George Bailey Sees The World! said...

Students MUST sign-up for a a club. A movie watching club seems infinitely more palatable than most of their other likely options. I would suggest telling them that you would be happy to have a movie-watching club once a month in an after-school time slot - that way you're not feeling guilty, you're not giving-up your Saturdays, and you're giving the students a fun afternoon looking at movies that you would likely not mind watching yourself.

Tanner Brown said...

"It was baseball, it was springtime, it was the sun on our backs!" makes me warm and happy (b/c I peed myself).

"Remuneration" and "boss" (as adj.) in the same paragraph is a diction shift no matter how you swing it.

c) = hilarious