“Nobody”…nobody but you…

16 Jun

It’s a fresh Sunday afternoon at English Village.  It’s one of those rare days where the sun is warm and inviting but there is still a cool breeze in the air.  I am working today, but that is no problem.  It’s been a light day of teaching as the program for today completed at 2:30pm.  An easy day, even though I am at work.

Today’s students were here for just two days and one night visiting from a town about two hours away.  My class today were all boys ages ranging from about 9 – 12.  They were full of boy spirit and energy with a few rough edges and bullying in the class, but overall a really sweet group.  I co-taught today’s class with another teacher which is helpful in a class full of boys.  What was the subject today?  Rockets!  The first hour they learn the basics about rockets and the second hour they make and launch their own.  Actually it’s pretty cool.  They make the rockets from empty Coke bottles then put a “nose” and some “fins” on it.  We then head outside where the rocket gets filled with a little water, loaded on to the launcher, and with the help of a bicycle pump, is launched into the sky.  It’s unexpectedly impressive and fun to see the rockets dive further then imagined into the distance.

At the end of the class as we headed to lunch, many of the boys were really kind and grateful giving me a high-five and saying thank you.  Thank you is not something you often hear in the classroom and I was really impressed and appreciative of their good attitudes.

It’s been a great weekend for me.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  The typical venturing into Seoul for the day on Saturday, meeting with my SGI Buddhist group and then sojourning around town.  I appreciated the sheer joy of just being out and about for a bit in beautiful warm weather, connecting with people I like and respect and enjoying the practice of Buddhism, and also having some nice quiet time on my own.  What a pleasure it was to experience all of these flavors in a day and then the joy of returning to the pretty green hills of Paju, quiet surroundings and a relaxing evening.  Mmmm.  Feels good!

As I spend much of my time teaching English and working with Korea children, I have noticed certain tendencies and cultural influences beginning to rub off.  On more than one occasion I’ve had a K-pop song randomly running through my head… an “earworm” that I cannot escape.  For those of you who don’t know, K-pop is the very popular music culture in South Korea (i.e. Korean-pop) making a name for itself in Korea and around the world.  Korean children are CRAZY for K-pop! It features stars like Psy who sings “Gangnam Style” and is internationally known.  The top tune currently running through my mind is the song “Nobody” by the Wonder Girls.  Their music video is pretty funny.  Check it out!

I have also noticed other by-products of teaching English in South Korea.  For example, I now hardly ever say “no” without crossing my forearms in front of my body making a deliberate “x”.  The is the common way to communicate “no” non-verbally in South Korea.  When teaching children who may or may not understand what you are saying, non-verbal cues become important.  But now it seems I cannot make it through a single conversation without this added accentuation.

There are other ESL teaching habits that have slipped into my regular ways.  More and more… I act words that I say… pointing to eyes when talking about eyes, moving arms like I am flying when talking about birds.  And of course speaking deliberately, slowly and distinctly.  I also notice I habitually say everything twice… because it’s not always understood… or heard… the first time.  All of these “symptoms” a sure indication… of an ESL teacher.

As Sunday continues to tick away, the day will soon seamlessly shift into Monday, the beginning of a new workweek.  I am doing my best to keep a light attitude about work and “pace” myself as the upcoming summer schedule doesn’t offer much of a break in sight.

In the meantime, it’s still Sunday.  Although the students have left, there are a few more hours to record at work before being compete for the day.

How are you spending you weekend and Sunday?  It’s always great to hear from you!

Photo at top, flowers and fountain on a summer day at English Village.

One Response to ““Nobody”…nobody but you…”

  1. Bob Pellegrin 06/16/2013 at 21:19 #

    Okay, now I can’t get that song out of my head!

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