너모 학생들 이에요

Translation: Too many students.

One step forward, 19.5 steps back?

Okay, it’s not really that bad. I’m making progress; I’ve seen it, my teachers have seen it, everyone’s seen it. But after class yesterday, that’s still how I’m feeling. Hell, if push were to come to shove, I could prove I’m (slowly) inching forward with my writing exploits from last week. Whenever I get the motivation to actually finish that post.

But onto yesterday. So on Wednesday my friend and I visited the class director’s academy (학원). My friend was picking up a guitar he had purchased, and I came along because hanging around a Korean teacher can’t be bad; right?

So the director showed me the current draft he had to advertise the Korean class to other foreigners. I read it, and it was alright. Perfectly understandable, but it still had that “foreigner feel” to it. It read like it was written by someone who’s writing in a language that wasn’t their own. (Totally true in this case.)

So the red pen comes out, and I start editing. And editing. And editing. At this point the director’s concerned, “Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. I’m just making it sound ‘right.’ Put the American touches on it.”

I then ask him for a brand new sheet of paper so I can rewrite everything. Combine ideas, elaborate some parts, shorten others. You know, full-on editing. It made me miss the late night days writing for Patch.com.

I thought it turned out pretty well, even if I’m biased:

1st

“Pretty well” is an misnomer. It turned out too well.

2nd

We didn’t have class two weeks ago because there were the three “core” students (myself included) and one teacher. Three students, three different levels, one teacher, and no way of putting together a coherent lesson plan. So they listened to and dissected some schmaltzy Korean ballad. I opened my Korean notebook and reviewed vocabulary. I already know the word for “love” (as they did too – 사랑), and thus had no reason to focus on some ball-less man sing the word over strings for a minute and a half.

So nothing learned.

I walked into class this week, and there were already five students, and two teachers. One-on-one is way out the window now, since with me joining the pool, there’s a 3:1 student/teacher ratio. Again, no way to reconcile the differences in ability.

Another teacher eventually showed up, leaving me and my friend to study together. Problem being he’s a few levels higher than I am. So either he’s bored when we’re moving at my pace, or I’m lost when we’re moving at his pace. Another week with absolutely nothing gained.

Frustrating.

The icing on the cake was before I left, the director handed me a TOEPIC test to try (it tests your level of Korean). My friend had tried it earlier in the week and did pretty well (he can read Mandarin rather fluently, and Mandarin is the Latin of Asian languages). I made it through the first page of the test fine before the wheels fall off. I just (still) don’t have the vocabulary.

I hate being this depressed about this. I know I’m making progress, even if I can’t see it. Last week’s Lang-8 results are testament to that. I needed to work on subject/object marker placement, I did, and it appears to be working. I’ll just keep focusing on that.

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