Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Praises (& Weight Complaints)

I am happy to report that despite this weekend's threatened relapse, 36 hours of intense rest beginning Saturday evening did the trick (unfortunately, I missed church meantime) and I've been feeling good, respiratorily. The weather is starting to warm here, gradually. Blooms are appearing, as are bugs. I wish there were a screen on my bathroom window.

However, I am gaining weight. Again! I'm not getting enough exercise--that's the main reason for the spread of my waist and the unpleasant heaviness of my hips. I need to arrange to go on morning walks with somebody. The only way that I will actually get out of my bed, into clothes for the day, and out the door is if I have a commitment to someone else. I would walk at night, but I'm too tired, and I usually have some class planning or editing to do.

Following the wise counsel of one of my stateside friends who is the mom of six-year-old twins, I talked to my fellow faculty member, the parent of one of my squirrelly first graders, and the Apple Watch was not turned on yesterday, and the student was delightfully dedicated. I was forced to confiscate the other child's watch midway through the class, but it didn't help very much in improving his scholarship – I kept having to shepherd him back to his seat, and advise him to apply his pencil to his letters. I like having more games than seat work, but unfortunately the game I tried turned into complete chaos. The children love coloring (one of my wiser purchases during the last week was a large collection of crayons) so my classroom walls are slowly being papered with bright illustrations of alphabet words, from alligators to flowers.

I've been thinking what a great blessing it has been from God himself to have had such good bosses here and before. My managing administrators here have been kind and more than willing to answer my questions and respond to my concerns. The weekly meetings have been focused, and my fellow teachers are amazing and inspirational – particularly our new curriculum coordinator, who is always energetic and full of good ideas, with clever and original notions for arranging activities. I am really grateful for her and for the other ladies, all of whom are hard-working and genuinely fond of their students.

One of my chief weaknesses as an ESOL instructor is not only talking too much, but using vocabulary that is way beyond my students' comprehension. Sometimes, even when I think I'm being clear, I realize later that I was unnecessarily obtuse. And in my adult classes, I occasionally go off on tangents, which is good for History teaching, but not for basic language instruction. And I have also been guilty of trying to pack too much information into a single lesson, of moving too rapidly. Metaphorically, it's like I've been pouring boiling water into cold china cups, which are shattering from the sudden onslaught of intense heat. I have got a long way to go before I become a good language teacher. I am grateful to have a steady job with strong co-teachers who make up for my failings, and for sweet-spirited students who greet me cheerfully. They don't hug me--that's not customary here--but the younger ones bounce and grin adorably.

I pray one or more of Korean adults I know will ask me to join them on morning walks. I know I would feel better, I would get to know them better, and I also might learn some Korean!

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