Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Super-Scandalous Speed Dating Lesson, and A Sample (thurs) Day in the Life

Lesson of the day: American dating culture and speed dating (interview practice)
Idiom of the day: Gut feeling / gut instinct
Video of the day: Speed dating video, same as for 2nd graders yesterday.
Lunch: ham salad sandwich, beef bokkumbap, fish paste soup, tiny plastic thing I thought would be lemon jello that ended up being lemonade. NOT a good day to be a vegetarian. I pretty much ate kimchi and some of the rice around the beef, and the "emergency apple" I'd been keeping in my desk for just such an occasion.

Today's News:

Some things I learned about young Korean dating culture while comparing it with young American dating culture:
Q: What is the average age Koreans start to date?
A: University (2 classes), high school (1 class)

Q: Where do Korean couples go on a typical date? (NB: the first time I asked this, I phrased it "what do Korean couples do on a typical date?" without thinking of possible consequences at a high school that's 80% boys)
A: noraebang (1st answer from every class!), amusement park, movie theater

Q: How long should you date someone before your first kiss?
A: 3-6 months (one class said "100 days")
The kids were all shocked when I said that around 3 dates was probably the American norm. Of course, I didn't have too many first dates in high school, so I pretty much made that up. The looks on their faces told me all I needed to know about whether they could handle the news that some American teenagers go to unsupervised parties where alcohol is served and kiss people they aren't dating at all. Guess I'll save that gem for next semester...

*Koreans were shocked and seriously envious to find out that American kids get their licenses at 16 (Koreans get theirs at 19). I think I might harness their interest in this subject for a debate topic later on.

*Talking about driving and high school dating culture led me to two very special vocabulary words - "curfew" and "grounded." It was pretty interesting to me no one had ever heard of these words. It tells me that they're not watching the same TV and movies that kids their age in America watch, or that if they are, they're completely shutting out the audio and just reading the subtitles. So I've been brainstorming movies that are about / take place in high school that are PG (like, actually rated PG). They've already seen High School Musical 1&2, but they liked 'em, so I can show them HSM 3 (I've never seen it). "Sky High" also occurred to me as a potential movie. Any suggestions would be welcome!

*We talked about the differences in how young people interact with the same sex and the opposite sex. I explained that it's normal for young Americans to hug or cheek-kiss people of both sexes for greetings and goodbyes. We made a little chart together - for Americans, it's normal to see a boy and a girl who are just friends touching or hugging. For Koreans, it's normal to see two boys who are just friends holding hands, hugging, or touching, but strange to see platonic opposite gender physical affection (okay, I used easier words, but you get the point).

*I bought a scale at HomePlus en route home. Scale, gym membership - now all I need is a couple of lunch days like today, and I should be on my way to being suitably Korean-style near-emaciation.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is my favorite and least favorite day in terms of school scheduling. I have exactly one scheduled class, officially a class for the school English teachers, which exactly 2 people come to. Pretty much we just chat for an hour. Sometimes it's cool, sometimes it's painfully long. Either way, there's absolutely no reason it couldn't be moved to a different day -- I'm pretty much just there all day because in Korea, being a good worker means you have to be seen putting in time. The work-life balance thing here is approached way, way differently. So while most of my days are spent doin' stuff (I spend quite a bit of time lesson-planning and preparing materials for class -- on some days, all of the hours I'm not teaching go into prep work), Thursdays just aren't....

6:30am Wake up, quick shower, put on a suit
7:10 Breakfast
7:30 Leave for school
8:05 Arrive at school. Insa (formally greet/bow to) principal, vice principal, head of teachers, head of department, and anyone else who comes along, in that EXACT order - or else!)
8:15 Try to socialize with teachers with whom I do not share any language, over hobbit-sized Dixie cups of instant coffee
8:30 Sit at desk in teacher's office. Think about lesson plans and get sidetracked reading wikipedia articles on Latin grammar. Think about lesson plans on Latin grammar. Facebook people from my high school Latin class.
10:00 wish I'd kept taking Latin. Or at least French. Look up French classes in Daejeon. Look up guitar lessons, cooking classes, and personal trainers in Daejeon. Google "what to do in Daejeon." Read the Korea Herald.
11:00 Check GMail. Check facebook. Check gmail again. Stalk self on facebook. Untag pictures. Retag pictures. Untag them again. Read front page of NY Times. Try to lesson plan for next week. Read other ETA blogs.
12:05pm Lunch
12:30 Students have lunch, teachers book it out of the cafeteria before the mad rush. Back to my desk. Check gmail. Check facebook. Read Jezebel. Read io9
1:20 Teacher class
2:10 Check gmail. Check facebook. Read whedonesque. Check ETAB. Try to lesson plan again. Blog.
2:30 Check gmail and facebook again. fall asleep. jerk awake as teachers insa incoming principal. Check gmail. Check Smith email, get angry that JCrew sent email about 20% off all sale items with free shipping and the damn website is blocked in Korea. Wonder what subversive action JCrew did to deserve this. Look up "proxy server." Clear cache.
3:30 Get up for another hobbit coffee, talk with physics professor. Decipher after 4 repeats / 2 minutes that he's telling me he's happy it's "hump day." Consider explaining that that is, in fact, Wednesday. Don't.
3:40 Consider reactivating neopets account. Wikipedia "neopets" instead. Hey, that guy from "Veronica Mars" owns Neopets? Wish I'd brought my DVD collection to Korea. Consider ways to include 'Newsies' as a lesson on American history. Clear cache.
4:35 Get stuff together, insa VP, walk to bus stop
4:45 Get on bus
5:15 Get off bus at subway station. Get on subway. Try to time nap so I don't miss my stop.
5:45 Get off subway. Walk home. Stop along the way to buy fruit or coffee, feeling the distinct pleasure of self-determined movement and absurd exchange rate-derived buying power. Relish the oasis of Starbucks, the magic of a transaction in which you can order a small soy chai and indeed receive a small soy chai.
6:00 Finally arrive at apartment, inexplicably exhausted. Marvel that this is my job. Despair that this is my job. Laugh that this is my job.


MaybeUrMom said...

Love reading about the small scenes of your daily life.
To show in class: how about Disneys's Sabrina the teenage witch, or Hannah Montana, or the one about twin boys? Likely some or all of that is available as a download..

Mr. Kim (USA) said...

Well, it's just amazing, but that's exactly the same Thursday I had last week! Except I forgot to clear the cache. Oops. . . Oh, yeah -- and also, I checked your blog. Best part of the day, actually.

dara said...

@ Mom - oh, good call on Sabrina the teenage witch. really, almost anything from ABC is probably a decent idea (perhaps I'll stay away from that one where molly ringwald is a young grandma)

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