Thu Jun 5, 2003
Well, I just don’t know where my days go, with my mind as dazed as it is, and being as overworked as I am, I’m surprised anything at all is being written here. I feel like I’m immersed in an infinite stream of ‘teacher-consciousness’, where my thoughts are overwhelmingly occupied with the progress of the kids, individual cases, tests, flashcards, storybooks where “A green monster lives in a green house” and “Mr. Noisy made noise when he talked”…and the intricate micro-warfare of children where alliances are formed, promises are made, threats are issued, where jealousy, love, anger and elation rage unchecked through the classrooms…And sometimes I feel like I’m engaged in a kind of psychological warfare myself, trying to bend small minds to my will, trying to coerce them into conforming to set standards, and simultaneously despising and admiring the rebels who refuse to play the power-game. I too am infected with the tides of emotions, even though I’ve always considered myself to be of an even temper and a calm disposition. Sometimes I buckle under the assault - I hated myself the other day for becoming Mr. Conradie and throwing a chair across the room in a fit of anger. I hated my high school teachers and I’m very conscious of not emulating their style and using scare-tactics on the poor kids. I’m still learning though, just like everyone else in this world, even Mr. Conradie.
I get into a lot of trouble for speaking Korean at school, I don’t speak it in the classroom, but now I don’t even speak it in the teacher’s room. The other day, I addressed one of our Korean teachers in Korean and she sort of freaked out - she said she hated it when I spoke Korean and that it sounded un-natural! She even went so far as to instruct one of the other Korean teachers (who has been teaching me the language) not to teach me any more Korean! I was offended at first (and still am actually), but I switched into anthro-mode and psycho-analyse mode, as I do in these situations and saw that her definitions and perceptions of what constitutes a ‘foreigner’ were being challenged and I was being too ambiguous…I was making her uncomfortable because I wasn’t following the foreigner template (or stereotype) she was using to interact with me. The Korean propensity to categorize unequivocally is quite congruent with her very traditional and stoic personality…she is somewhat closed-minded, but I’m not trying to be insulting by saying that. Anyways, that probably didn’t make much sense.
Tomorrow we go crab and shell fishing in the ocean, yay! It’s memorial day tomorrow, thank the good lord, I need a break.