Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Episode 35: In Which DFM Is Watched Closely

My nose didn't run as much this morning, but I'm still having problems with my throat.  The Yellow Dust is vicious and some of my fellow teachers have sore throats too (I hope they didn't pick it up from me).

When I arrived at school I took a cup from the staff room and walked down the hall to the water cooler to get some fresh water.  In Korea rather than using dishwashers, cups and even toothbrushes and even shoes are sometimes disinfected by UV rays in a special microwave-type box.

Unfortunately, they only stay disinfected for about a tenth of second before some student does this to them.

The same girls from the other picture wanted to help me get my water, so they took their cups that had been sucked to their faces and used them to drink some water, and then dump the rest into my cup.  Fill, drink, dump, repeat.  Eventually I had some yummy, taste-tested water to help my throat.  Thanks girls.

Birthdays are a big thing at this school, and this boy got the royal treatment today.  Now I know why all the children are always pointing at their picture on the calendar to show me when their birthday is.

As I've mentioned before, ants are a theme for the five year olds.  They call this an ant house.  I'm trying to figure out a way to explain the difference between an ant hill, ant colony and ant farm.

I'm constantly worried that I'm causing too much disruption at the school between classes.  Here, the four year olds play a game in which they follow me down the hall to my next class, and then when I turn to take their picture they run away screaming.

Ha ha, gotcha!  This little girl tries to sneak up on DFM one more time...

One teacher had a great power-point presentation she had made about ants.  I actually learned a few things myself from it.  This little girl and the boy didn't learn much though,  because they spent most of the time hanging onto my leg and staring at me.  The boy would go off on these amazing stories, telling me all sorts of wonderful things about what I presume were ants.  It's too bad I couldn't understand a word he was saying, but I nodded and said "wow" or "ahh" where I thought it was appropriate.  The teacher wasn't mad either, she thought it was cute and let him talk for a bit before she made him pay attention again.

In my final class of the day (apparently Wednesday is song day), my boss came by to give me a book and another song he wanted me to teach the children.  After class I was told by the teacher to pick the "best student."  I chose Balance Boy here, and I think it came as a surprise even to him.  I admit he gets himself off task quite a bit, but he's a clever kid and in a class where most of the poor four year olds were literally falling asleep (one little feller actually fell over), he was one of the few children singing along and doing the actions.  When I pointed at him, his mouth fell open and he looked at the Korean teacher to see if she was going to let this decision stand.  She hummed and hawed a bit, but then finally said "OK," and he got his "Best Student" sticker.  Here he is proudly displaying it on his right hand like a young woman showing off an engagement ring.

This absolutely tiny four year old girl (she looks about three) wanted me to help her with he picture of a strawberry.  She barely says a thing, but followed me around and waited patiently and silently all class for me to help her.

For the rest of the day she would stare silently at me in the hallways whenever she would see me.  She doesn't speak or wave much, but her big brown eyes that never stop looking at me say a lot.  I'd joke that I wish I could take her back in my suitcase with me, but she's small enough that I actually could.

At climbing Ji-Hyeun gave me some more food.  She's worried that I'm not eating well enough and has taken to giving me health advice and nutrition tips.  All I heard was "come and get some man..." but I was already there stuffing the delicious dumplings into my face hole.

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