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17 January 2005
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KLB - Barbaric Teacher

I had a pretty good day today. Even though I didn't sleep much, I woke up early and felt fine. I zipped to work and was in a good mood and decided to take a positive approach to Cathy and teaching. Cathy seemed also in a good mood, though she had some things to say about the recent foreigner scandal. (Click the link to read the best and most recent information by the Marmot). Actually, I brought it up. I could almost see her thinking about it. I wanted to clear the air that I am not one of those crazy sex-addicted barbarians the Korean newspapers and netizens have been in an uproar about. She said she was shocked about the matter and "I didn't know about foreigners bad things before I read about that." Hey, come on! We're not all maniacal, sex-crazy freaks (or super lucky bastards, depending on your interpretation) like the guy in this pic:

I did the best I could to explain that not all foreigners are "bad" people (though God knows there are a lot of idiots here). I mean, take me for example. I'm pretty normal. I shave every day and dress decently. I don't have tattoos of Satan or tribal-rings in my nose. She does think I'm a good teacher all in all, despite our difference, because the kids adore me and are really happy, but I bet she's secretly wary of me now. And, just to be on the smart side, I will be keeping a safe physical distance from the children.

With that out of the way, the kids were great, as usual. Our new seating system is working wonders. If any of you teachers want to know a really effective way of managing your class try what we're doing. We have the kids in 4 groups. Each group has low level and high level students in it.

So, there are teams A, B, C, D. Each team gets a square on the whiteboard. When someone in the team does something good, such as answers a question right, or scores high on a test, they get a star (you draw them in the boxes). If they do something bad, such as come to class late, fail a test, or speak Korean, you subtract stars. This system puts effective pressure on the underachievers and/or trouble makers as the teams go crazy for stars. At the end of the day you count the stars for each group. Five (or however many you decided) equals one sticker for each kid in that group. The stickers are nothing more then small colored dots that they put on their sticker scoreboards. See this post. Eventually, when a student gets enough stickers, say thirty, he/she gets a small, inexpensive gift (such as a box of kids pencils or some crayons).

As a result, it's been a lot of fun for me to teach them lately as they are so excited about getting stickers. Also, their behavior is near perfect. Not that they were bad before, but now there is a real consequence to the "minus one point (now star)" routine - they're teammates will get angry and they won't get stickers.

Also, since the new book is terrible and Cathy now agrees, we don't really use it much and have been solely teaching phonics in class A and B and using the handy English Time 3 book in class C (sang a great song today about a kid who won't clean his bedroom). It's easy to make phonics fun for them now in these groups. If the learn the sounds and can read the words, their team gets a lot of stars...so they do they best to learn them and participate.

Well, I was about to go on writing but, I feel the tingle coming on. Within moments I will turn back into being an dirty, crazy, sex-addicted, barbaric foreigner for the rest of the evening. Rarrrrhhhh!

Speaking of that, I wonder if I got so many hits yesterday (nearly 3000) as a result of that scandal. I bet, since I was able to find the majority of the hits were coming from within Korea and a lot of people were searching the archives, that Koreans were checking foreigner blogs to see if they could dig up more fuel for the fire. Either that or people just wanted to see what I thought of the matter. I didn't realize it was such a big deal until the big discussion forum actually banned any threads about the matter and, more importantly, my favorite ajumma in Singil station gave me the cold shoulder today when I bought my usual sandwich.

As far as those checking up on my blog, I bet they were disappointed to see I'm just a (fairly) normal guy living a routine life and not writing about my sexual escapades...the hit count for today has returned to normal and nobody bought my book (maybe I should rename it Island of Foreigners Who Sleep With Korean Girls). All I can say is John was smart and lucky to pull the plug on his site when he did.


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