Today was a very memorable day at school. My grade 1/2 class put me to tears, in the middle of the classroom, in front of everyone. They weren't too sure what to make of Alex Teacher and her escapades. To set the scene, I was being brave and decided to attempt to make play-doh with the kiddies. I was hoping to put some sort of educational twist on it but to be honest, I am on week 5 of amusing about fifteen 6 - 8 yr old kids that barely understand the language I speak to them, so this was a great time killer. There are some gems in the class and some real shit disturbers, but I have even taken a shining to the worst of the bunch, the class bully (who is really just a sheep in wolfs clothing).
Anyways, more to the point of my hysterical breakdown. I divided the kids into groups and handed out all the necessary supplies (bowls, spoons, flour, salt, oil and water), and then the trouble started. My vision of a classroom full of mini Picasso's quickly fell. The concoctions they mixed together (frommy measurements) were soggy, runny, gloopy, gross blobs. I tried so hard to salvage the recipe but the more ingredients I added the worse it became. Not only was the consistency way off but it made the biggest mess EVER. The kids were covered in flour and had the chewing gum like substance stuck all over their hands, hair and clothing, the tables and chairs were covered and they were grinding it into our nice clean classroom carpets (that the students aren't even allowed to wear outside shoes on). To add insult to injury, I usually teach camp on my own, with no Korean teacher, but a few of them occasionally pop their head in for attendance or just to make sure everything is okay. Today, the teacher was really late and came in at the exact climax of mayhem in my classroom. She took a survey of the classroom and then looked at me and without a word of english, managed to convey in her facial expressions, the words wtf is going on in here? It was pretty awesome. It was at this moment I broke out into the biggest fit of giggles and basically couldn't stop. I really wanted this to work and it was so blatantly a huge failure but the kids were having a gay old time, and it was just hilarious. Anyone who has witnessed or been part of one of my giggle fits knows there are a lot of tears involved, and once they start its tough to stop. I must've looked like such a site; the kids were loving it and even the Korean teacher couldn't keep a straight face. She rolled up her sleeves and pretty much dove in. I think she thought I may have lost the plot a little but was a great sport about it. She managed to corral the kids and work the dough into a somewhat workable substance. After pulling myself together in the last 10 minutes of class, I think I managed to get a few kids to form the letters "o" and "i", just for a little educational content.
After 80 minutes of the 1/2 class I teach a 3/4 split. Usually there is a 10 minute break but today it was a little longer in order to reconstruct the classroom. Again, the Korean teacher was great and pitched in and we swept, vacuumed, and wiped away as much gloopy, gross blobby stuff as possible. Parents are probably cursing me as we speak. None of the kids would part with their over sized wads of gum so I just barely convinced them to let me bag them, write their names on it and take it home. Out of sight out of mind.
What a day, my sides were sore from the giggles. Although it was a massive fail in the attempt to make play-doh I think fun was had all around. The kids got a kick out of me and I most definitely got a kick out of them.
The pictures below are NOT from today. I was dying to stop and take pictures, there were some major Kodak Moments but everything I touched was encrusted in goop so I dared not reach for my lens. But these pics are of my 1's and 2's. As much of a pain in the butt that they are, they're also pretty freakin' cute. I've learned to love them all in the last 5 weeks.
This is Tonya. I have hatched a plan with Garry to kidnap her and take her home to Canada when we leave. She may be the cutest thing I have ever laid eyes on. She is obsessed with holding my hand, and tries to seek it out in any activity we do outside of our chairs. It is my goal in the next 3 classes to take a video of her giggling. No matter how tired, angry or frazzled I feel when she giggles, it is so amazing I can't help but join in. It doesn't hurt she wears this orange suit to school everyday, her favorite color is pink, her hair is usually in ribbons, and she almost always wears an awesome skirt and pant combo. The kid has style. Did I mention she doesn't speak a word of english with the exception of the stuff she has learned in the last few weeks?
On the other side of the spectrum, is Joon. He is the class bully, and the biggest pain in my butt. He gives the word disruptive a new meaning. He doesn't sit still, barely pays attention to lessons and pisses all the other kids off. He used to drive me nuts but until I learned how to deal with him and now he is actually pretty cool. I always assign him special tasks and responsibilities and he tries so hard to please me (while still managing to annoy everyone else). He is the sheep in wolfs clothing.
A few more snaps of some of the other little characters I get to hang out with on a daily basis.....