Friday, October 21, 2011

School update

A couple of weeks ago I had this incident at school. My best friends and I had bought friendship rings the preceeding weekend. We were out one day in Hongdae and a guy was selling these stainless steel rings and he said he would engrave them for us for around 10 bucks.

Basically what happened was that when I woke up the next day my hand had swelled during the night and the ring had become stuck on my finger to the point that it was cutting off blood circulation. When I went to school everyone freaked out and I was sent to the nurse, the local hospital, one of the 5th grade korean teachers spent her free period holding my hand above my head and massaging my finger, the adjusshi in the school copy room tried to cut it off with a giant chain cutting fence tool (what are those called?) but we found out to the detriment of all that steel is a b-otch to cut. The situation was eventually resolved when my head teacher at my school came up to me the moment I finished lunch and dragged me to the copy room where 5 men had gathered, immediately jumped up when we entered. They all congregated around my finger and alternately tried to get the ring off my finger by cutting it off with a range of tools and pulling, one very vivid moment came right before they started to go at it when one of them turned to me and said say something if it hurts. I remember the giant cutters next to my tiny finger and thinking oh you'll definitely know if it hurts.

When I told the story to my friends, the first thing they said was "wow, your school must really care about you." I thought yeah that's true but didn't really give it much thought beyond that. Today however another incident came up and I've realized that though I've really struggled this year, if nothing else I'm really appreciative of how much support and care I've gotten with my school.

Yesterday my co-teacher wanted to talk to me because she was worried about how tired I look and how unhappy I seem to the students. Last week Ally asked me after class if was I angry with the students because they were too noisy, and I turned to her and said I'm not angry, I'm tired. These day's I'm always exhausted by the end of the week and unfortunately I teach 5th grade on Thursdays and Fridays, and I have less energy to give to those students then the ones early in the week especially because I'm working so much overtime. So Ally asked me if its OK that we call an English teachers meeting and I said sure.

Going into it today I wasn't really sure what it was about or if I was in trouble or really anything. When they called the meeting, Ally simply explained that all the teachers think I'm doing a great job and they wanted to know what they could do to help me out so I'm less stressed out and less exhausted at work. We talked about my schedule and the different styles I have of teaching with the other teachers. They asked me of the different problems I had with each grade and teacher and then they suggested different ways to each other on how to help me more. I explained to them that I simply wanted more input from them during class, that if they see the students really don't understand to step in, or if they have a suggestion on a better way to teach something or if the students are being rowdy, and to not leave the class, basically I wanted more co-teaching which is what we're suppose to be doing. When I asked if they wanted me to do anything differently, 2 of my co-teachers said no my class is perfect and that they'll try to participate more and help me. Ally said she just wants me to have more energy with the students, she said if she didn't know how energetic I could be and how much enthusiasm I can give then she wouldn't ask it. And I agree, it makes me feel really apologetic to the 5th grade students that I just can't be as energetic with them and hopefully by my other co-teachers taking a more active role, I won't feel as exhausted and can give more to my students.