I was a South African fiend before I became teen.

So yesterday I found out what teachers here do to kids who take fat chances at school. Now, before I start this, for all of you fretting this’ll be going down an abduction / beating / razorblade whirligig route here, relax, silly – South Korea’s got similar, if not identical, laws to the rest of the West when it comes to disciplining kids and whatnot. Which kind of sucks at times, as a new teacher, because it’s hard to know which of the kids are aware of it, and which of them are just energetic and generally otherwise. And, either way, what do you do if one kid out of the dozen’s colouring in his neighbour’s face with permanent marker and his buddy John (there’s a John in EVERY class) gives you his Prada cell phone at the beginning of the class, only to pull out an iPhone minutes later?

What you do, it seems, is kick into Jeff Probst mode.

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Today’s lesson was brought to you by Tall, Dark and Khaki

This kid, last night, excused himself from the one teacher, Hannee’s classroom to take a call from his mom. Twenty five minutes later, Hannee realises the kid isn’t back yet, so she goes out to look for him. The dude’s in the passage, behind the school, making Korean doe eyes at his girlfriend, who came to meet him from her school, which is downstairs. Hannee freaks out, brings him inside to the office and starts shouting at him in supersonic Korean. 

At which point, I promptly left the staffroom to do other things, because screw that. After about fifteen minutes in the computer room with Alice, working on my diary and awkwardly clicking around random Wiki articles, I get back to a now quiet staffroom – to find the kid standing there with his hands in the air.

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Waving them around, like he just didn’t care.

It turns out, instead of having ‘encounters’ with kids and potentially going to jail for years and years, Korean teachers have figured out the Survivor challenge method of punishment: a kid really transgresses things around the classroom, and he gets to stand like a two-handed Shiva statue, quiet and welcoming the sun, next to their desk while they mark papers. This kid was taller than anyone in that office, and he looked pissed  🙂 It was delightful. 

Like I keep telling my mom, though, every time a kid acts out, my first instinct is “Somebody’s getting tossed off the roof.” Luckily, they’re pretty much uniformly respectful and nice. Thing is, though, after I get past the initial shock of being called out by one of them, it’s hard to get past the poetry of my situation, having been one of the talky, sneery, teenage angsty kids for so many years. I suppose, somewhere right now, my high school English teacher, Mrs Van Der Walt’s irony senses are tingling.

Anyway, no other news from me. This weekend makes it a month I’ve been here. I’m still laying low on the party-party front, at least until I bring in my first payslip. The novel’s nearly halfway done. Comics are being read, en masse. Plans to head into Seoul this weekend to go check out some guitar shops and whatnot.

For the moment, though, I’m off to work. Enjoy your Friday, everybody.

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~ by dook on August 24, 2012.

5 Responses to “I was a South African fiend before I became teen.”

  1. you write in my minds eye.

  2. Karma has no dealine! But try your best to be an inspiration to one student- who later in life will remember you like you remember Mrs Van Der Walt .

  3. So How are you getting on with your gas stove?

  4. I will not mess with Mr Duncan. I will not mess with Mr Duncan. I will not mess with Mr Duncan. I will not mess with Mr Duncan. I will not mess with Mr Duncan. 페니스.

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