Day 229

Saturday | October 13th, 2012


I typically use a Saturday like I would a Wednesday, sleep in a little, then get up and do some stuff (with the range of “stuff” stretching from the bottom of totally slack to intensive construction projects). But this Saturday, I trudged myself up around 07.30 to beat to my office around 08.30. My department occasionally passes out extra work opportunities (TOEIC camp, for example) and I latched onto one a few weeks ago because it was almost bang-on with my skill set: speech mentoring. Thank the CEC for all the speaking prep we did and all the public speaking curriculum I wrote and rewrote over the years.

From the gate though, even with offering to share a complete book from the CEC, there was friction. One person thought last year’s formula should just work again because it guaranteed everyone would work and get a shot at the 70,000 won an hour that was being offered. Naturally, I thought it was a crap approach because it involved working with a different set of students for four hours over three Saturdays. I didn’t see how I could be a decent mentor being rotated around like that. I also didn’t see how students could benefit from having a new teacher for every class (never mind the obvious repeated curriculum effects). Speech mentoring means working with one group of students within a set period, know your students’ speeches inside and out, constantly coaching, pressuring, pushing, and encouraging them, and working on a complete set of skills and a refinement of those skills, not just for the immediate affects, but for later competitions. Speech, debate, and public speaking is a heavily used feature of Korean curricula, so why waste a chance for country kids to work with good teachers by rotating them around?

I got my way. The other teachers opted for the rotation schedule (and good luck to them). Today I worked with five students who showed up (four were didn’t come) on gestures and eye contact. We reviewed both skills, played some skill games, did a lot of exercises, watched and analyzed videos of children younger than them (one an ELL) giving speeches, and practiced a ton. I will see the same kids next week for pronunciation work, then one more Saturday after that for pace and tone and putting it all together. If I was rotating around, I think I’d be lacking this kind of focus and having to coordinate a lot with the other teachers to make sure activities weren’t being repeated and the curriculum was always fresh.

I could have easily done it the other way too. And taught just as well, but that’s not the point. My way is better, hands down.

I finished at 13.00 and was home before 14.00. A whole day, open to me … I spent most of it inside struggling to get the tv to talk to the network, the media drive, my iMac, all with no success.

All Samsung needs to die. Really, truly. Thankfully, I have a Samsung printer (thumbnail image) that has been sitting in idle, making sleep, not war. Perhaps it was in revenge, that I took it apart. I’ve wanted to paint it a different color since BIL gave it to us. I’m thinking red. The printer talks to the network, btw. It also talks with the Macs and we can print from our iPhones and the iPad. The printer is so good at talking, it’ll probably try to pick up the tv (only to be ignored).

The Daily Bullet

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