Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

So, I don't like getting up in the mornings, but here I go - I'll be doing it for a year, minus 7 weeks of vacation and Korean red days. I set my alarm for 6:30, but after a somewhat restless night's sleep, I hit snooze. Then I got moving: coffee, smoothie, shower, dress, pack bag, hit the streets.

It's a long commute - 60-65 minutes door to door. However, there's only one transfer, which makes the whole thing okay. I brought a book but then just listened to music, something I predict will happen a lot.

Today was some sort of introduction/welcoming day, so I didn't do too much. In the first two hours I wrote a letter for a monthly magazine (on our curriculum, which I'm not even sure I understand yet), fine tuned the March lesson plan (ummm, yep, still not sure I have a clue what's going on), began to plan April's (hahahaha - won't it be interesting if this doesn't work out as planned?), and checked Facebook twice. Finally I was taken to lunch by the Korean teachers - which was surprisingly decent, considering it's a school cafeteria meal in Korea. We had rice, spicy mushroom soup, two kinds of kimchi, deep fried calamari, and a bun with red bean paste in it.

After lunch students began to arrive and I ended up watching cartoons of the Greek myths in Korean with the six year olds (I think they're preschool, but Korean ages work funny) and then eventually helped put hats on them - so ugly - and we spent a great deal of time lining them up (in the cold, naturally) and walking them over to the gym. I am the only foreign kindergarten teacher and was sent to sit with the ten or so elementary school teachers on the stage. From that vantage point we watched the kids sing the national anthem and a couple of other songs while an orchestra, the boys in little tuxes, played. Then there were a lot of long speeches, which I'd guess were boring, since the kids visibly paid no attention. All the classes were introduced, then the Korean teachers, then us. A student came up and read a welcome letter to the new first graders in both Korean and English and accompanied by a violin player. Then there was a traditional Korean drum performance and we all filed out of the gym to take pictures in the cold.

Plus, there were gifts! Each child got a little pack of art supplies and paper and stuff from the school. I totally don't remember this much fuss being made over the first day of school when I was a child. By three the kids had gone home, leaving me to plan, oh, most of April's lessons - this assuming that I have figured out what the hell is going on from the very sparse English directions I've been given. I'm hoping that once normal classes start, it will all begin to make sense.

On the way home I stopped for cheese sticks from Lotteria (in my opinion, the only edible food they sell) to tide me over for the hour long commute home and so far I've cooked the most delicious shrimp, carrot, mushroom and broccoli pasta in cream sauce that I've ever tasted and watched an episode of the West Wing. I'm pretty sure I won't make it until 11 - I'm exhausted.

Prediction for the future: one of these days I'll fall asleep on the subway and end up at the end of the brown line. Sigh.

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