Kian in Korea

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

First day at school

OK, so I may ahve overreacted a little bit yesterday about having to teach in an elementary school. I actually had a lot of fun today. I got to school early so i waited by the back door and pracitced writing in hangul (my name: 기안). It didn't take very long for me to get mobbed by little kids, all eager to use their entire body of knowledge about English on me. "Hello! Hi! Nice to meet you! You are very handsome!" I especially liked that last part. Both the boys and the girls called me handsome, but the girls do so while giggling and blushing a deep red. The boys, if they're feeling particularly daring, will rub my arms (they've never felt arm hair before!).

Today I assisted my co-teacher Sung in four of her classes, all fifth grade (I'll also be teaching 3rd, 4th, and 6th graders). Each class asked me lots of questions, from the basic "How old are you?" (my Korean age is 24, not 23! You are 1 year old when you are born) and "Where are you living?" (I have absolutely no idea, that's where), to the random- "What's your mother's name?" "Who's your favorite footballer?" and from a student who was clearly fishing for a compliment, "who do you think is the most handsome boy in this class?" Naturally, in response to that, I indicated that the handsomest guy in the classroom was in fact me, and we all had a good laugh.

It's somewhat bewildering how th elittle girls will be walking around, and when they see me they will literally scream and point as if I was some famous actor. Speaking of famous actors, at lunch the other teachers said that I looked just like this or that one. I was extremely flattered to be compared to Daniel Henney, even though it's an extremely false comparison (He's only half Korean, so I guess to Korean people he looks... Persian? I don't know). Weirder still was how I look like French soccer player Thierry Henry. I can sort of maybe understand someone telling me I look half Asian, but I don't think I look particularly black. Haha. Both handsome gentlemen though, I guess I should just take it as a compliment. It seems that if you aren't fully Korean and you're at least marginally good looking, you look like everyone else on the planet that fits that description.

In addition to teaching 19 elementary classes a week, I am also responsible for teaching 3 classes where the students are the other teachers! That'll be fun because I am completely responsible for the curriculum, so I get to teach whatever I want and I'm totally in charge.

So, after classes were over, Sung, the principal (in Korea principals are actually really really important bigwigs), an administrator and I all went to get a look at what will be my apartment. Let's just say that it's tiny, and that calling it tiny is a silly understatement. The bathroom and the shower sort of exist as one entity. There's a toilet, a sink, and the shower head is attached to the sink and drains into a drain in the middle of the room. My main concern, to be honest, is where will I keep my magazines? They'll get wet! Otherwise the studio is fine because even though it's small, it's not like I'll be hanging out in my apartment all day long. It should just be a place to sleep and hang out in betwen doing other things.

So in light of having a good time at this school, I'm not sure if I should reconsider my demand to move to a high school. It's what I originally wanted and what I was told I'd get, but maybe I just didn't know? I have to think about it more. I'm still leaning towards moving to the high school on July 19th, but I don't know how that will play in with my living situation and all that. So much to think about!

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