Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Tall, Warm and Fuzzy.

Originally uploaded by seaniz.

This is our counter, or bench as the resident New Zealander likes to call it("but Andy, we never use it for sitting"), in the LG kitchen. Dan, our American roommate, had an altercation with some frozen tofu. The way he tells the story it was a relatively peaceful disagreement between him and two blocks of frozen tofu that he was trying to separate. Unfortunately, this picture depicts the event as quite a violent one! Andrew: "The picture looks worse than it really is". Sang Hee: "How did he break the counter with tofu? Tofu is different when you freeze it. Why did he freeze the tofu. I need to see the counter, I don't understand how it could be broken". Well here you are Sang Hee. You were too busy to come over and check it out so I've posted the picture for you. Please don't look at the rest of this website. Okay?

Which brings me to the title of this post. Dan is definitely tall I keep on finding myself surprised at just how tall he really is despite having lived with him for 6 months or more. To be honest I'm just assuming he is warm. I can't really vouch for that particular fact as I don't recall touching him at any point recently. However, he certainly is not cold -- not like a dead body. I have touched a dead body before and it was distinctly cold, not at all the way that person felt when she was alive -- it was quite a shock really. And fuzzy, this is second-hand knowledge as well. I've heard that he is fuzzy. That's all I'm going to say on the matter.

Last night was just like the old days (ie. the first 8 to 12 months that I lived in Korea). Endless early morning hours that somehow slip by like a flash, getting to bed at 5:00am, waking at 8:30, teaching my kindy class at 9 with heavy eyelids, smelling vaguely (sometiems distincly) of vomit and soju. It sounds like I'm romanticizing the experience, and I suppose I am. But I'm not proud of the many times this has happened. My kindies definitely deserve a much more professional teacher than I was today.

Nevertheless, I have found kindy can become a terrible, grinding, endless, agonizing bore that becomes somehow transformed after just such a humbling, shameful night as the above depicted. The transformation occurs only in my way of seeing the class and the students and the subject matter that I'm teaching. You see, the routine is no longer routine as you struggle to keep in focus, to behave as much as possible as you believe a normal individual would. The abhorrent behaviour of certain individual students goes unnoticed and somehow 99 times out of 100 the kindy class ends up as an experience of great fun and enjoyment for all. Yes learning and teaching are more than adequate verbs to describe the event. To sum it up in a single sentence: The class goes without a hitch.

Some of my other workmates have attested to similar experiences as well. In fact, I myself have, on more than one occasion, had far too much drink and too little sleep the night before a kindy class that was being observed by parents. These classes actually went phenomenally well. It's rather quite a lot like sitting in an exam and feeling like you did terribly -- only to discover afterwards that your mark was exceptional. The opposite experience I have most definitely also had -- feeling like I aced an exam only to discover that I barely eked out a passing mark.

I must say that I feel there are other ways to effect a flawless, enjoyable lesson. These ways being, of course, careful planning and preparation. It's such a shame that they are not as much fun. It is, quite obviously, impossible to plan for spontaneity, and yet this is the word that I believe best describes the few exceptional classes that I have had the honour to teach.

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