Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Teaching Class

I will spare you the gritty details, but after about a week of quiet chatter from different people about me possibly going to Andong Elementary School on Tuesday night for a teacher training course, I found myself in the Andong Elementary School courtyard completely unaware of where to go or my purpose there. I was told to go to the cafeteria. So I went to the cafeteria. I said hello and asked the man at the front door if anyone spoke English. He said, "No, no no," and turned me away. Baffled about this situation, I tried to go the school's main office, but since it was 5:30, the school was locked up and no one was there. So, a little pissed off and quite lost, I decided to wander around the parking lot to see if anyone looked like they might know something.

After 15 minutes, I was confronted by two very nice Korean English teachers. They asked me if I was an English teacher and told me that we were in the building behind the main building, which I didn't know existed. They also automatically knew what school I was from, so it was clear I was the only one without all the details.

Once I got inside the room, I was greeted by about 15 smiling Korean English teachers, none of whom seemed purturbed that I was late. I was then promptly sat down next to someone who began chattering in Korean for 10 minutes until I was asked to introduce myself. I did, and we went around the room doing introductions in English. Most of the other teachers introduced themselves directly to me, which I thought was strange, but figured it was because I was foreign and they were interested. The woman next to me continued to talk then for about another 5 minutes, turned to me, and said goodbye. The room was then silent for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes.

Everyone was looking at me bewildered.

And it hits me.

I wasn't supposed to attend a teacher training course. I am supposed to TEACH a teacher training course.

Now, pardon my language, but all that went through my head at this point was "shit shit shit shit shit shit shit." I was sitting in a room with 15 Koreans, all waiting for me to "start," without a single clue what they want from me or what the topic for discussion is. Plus, I find out we are supposed to be there for 2 hours. Though I walked carefully through the next 20 minutes, I am quite sure I made a fumbling ass of myself as I apologized profusely and tried to figure out from a group of half-fluent English teachers what, exactly, they wanted from me.

Somehow, by about an hour and 15 minutes in, I had pulled it together and I was telling them strategies about how to run an English class entirely in English. We went over setting an agenda and how to take attendance in English. But for the most part, it was a total disaster.

The best part: I get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Thankfully, Sara will be going with me, and we WILL have a plan.

This whole "Dynamic Korea" thing went from quirky and amusing to dreadfully inappropriate last night, but after a brief conversation with Sara, my spirits returned, and today is another school day.

C'est la vie.

I WILL have videos up later today. I am working on it right now.


  1. Great story Scott. I'm so glad your mom pointed me toward your blog. I am looking forward to further descriptions of your adventures. Hang in there.

    Tom Brim

  2. That was crazy. Well they all came back on Thursday, so you definately did something right! We just need to crack this secret code of everyone-seems-to-have-a-schedule-except-the-Americans.

    And then the new question long will this program be going on.

  3. Wow...I commend you, Scot. I would have started panicking and probably shed a tear or two. something along the lines of "This is my first one told me...what is your name again....oh Hell....why me?" *sob*

    I'm sorry that happened to you :( Gotta love Sara for keeping positive, though =P You'll do fine I'm sure and I bet it wasn't as bad as you thought it was. You are looking at it through panicked eyes. One day you'll look back on this and laugh. Probably. Most likely. If you try really really hard. xo