Sunday, August 28, 2005

Outside, the hot Daegu sun---Inside, me. Working.

It's Sunday. Normally, I would be studying at Kiung Pook National University, among the many study rooms, learning Korean, or studying on the French DELF/DALF exam that I will take in Spring. Or, perhaps, I would be eating out with Korean and foreign friends alike, enjoying the beautiful weather---as mountains surrounding the Daegu valley traps summer clouds and hot southern air, creating a sauna effect, leaving it's inhabitants gasping for the Fall season. But, alas, I am.. at work.

I often think of what a newspaper story might read in the case of my overworking, particularly on a Sunday--the one, well-known 'vacation day' for everyone this side of Dong Hae (The Sea of Japan):
The Daegu Tribune: "American English teacher, 26 years old,
found exhausted Monday morning while working since Saturday afternoon to complete 80+ progress reports for kids that she only sees 1 and 1/2 hours per a week."
This feel awefully reminscent of the story I read not too long ago in an English version of The International Herald Tribune. This kid (more like an adolescent as he was near 28 years old) who told his folks that he would play 'just a little longer' at an internet cafe--he ends up dead after spending a total of 3 days there, leaving only to go to the bathroom and ordering food to be delivered to the cafe while he played incessantly. Crazy coincidence? Now that's what I call overdoing the videogaming!

Alright, so my story is nothing like the kid who played videogames non-stop. But I have to admit, it gets rather cumbersome doing 80+ progress reports--analyzing the work the kids' have done over the past month, writing down the main objectives for each lesson (for each class, nonetheless!), and then try to remain objective in estimating whether each kid's progress in speaking, motivation, class participation, expression, listening ability and comprehension... have all improved along the lines of "below average-average-very good-excellent" in just 6 short hours of teaching. Is this even possible???

My boss, Susan, told me the other day that I have to be careful what I write about the kids, and what I say about their progress---because the parents will be checking their kid's progress. If the kid hasn't progressed well or their learning trend has fallen to average or below average, then the parents will be breathing down her neck for answers. So then she'll be breathing down mine as well. But how can you accurately estimate how a child has progressed in such a short amount of time---not to mention, 80 different kids ALL doing different material that ranges in level, vocabularly, comprehension and the like?!? It's absolutely baffling to me!

Thus here I am, obediant, willingly stuck here on my vacation Sunday, wondering what the hot Daegu sun feels like verses the flourescent lights and the air conditioner on my back...ah, the life of an English teacher.
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