ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 24

Ouch. Perhaps the roughest week yet. A new teacher, one which speaks nearly zero English. Making for a very tough class. Not to mention a very long class.

First things first, the teacher is super nice. So nice, in fact, that I occasionally started feeling bad for him about halfway through the night. He could clearly see that I was either a.) frustrated, b.) pissed, or c.) both, and I, being a teacher, know exactly how that feels. When you’re stuck in a room with one person, who’s just not getting anything you’re saying, and you’re at your wit’s end trying to make contact. Get some kind of involvement.

And that’s largely what it was about: involvement. I would routinely check out; just let his words wash over me as I stared blankly ahead wondering what time it was, and how much longer this would go on before the night’s dinner plans were announced.

Granted, part of the reason behind this was my inability to comprehend 90% of what he was saying, but understanding that slim 10% still gave me hope. I can remember picking out two words: 기분 (mood) and 나쁘다 (to be bad). So he was clearly asking me if I was in a bad mood. And I clearly was…

A big part of my attitude came, not from the teacher change (that’s happened enough recently to be nothing new), but from his ignoring my book. And/or my signals about said book. I follow a textbook. Last week we had almost completed a chapter. So I was looking forward to being quizzed on the chapter’s vocabulary (which I had been studying all week), fluency using said vocabulary (usually done via reading the chapter’s dialogue), and finally using the everything together to construct my own sentences (shades of my Lang-8 work here).

None of which was done. It took ~20 minutes to get him to look at the chapter, and from then on out he spent the time reading the chapter to himself, and then telling me about it in Korean. The chapter is on getting a taxi ride. How to get to where you want to, and how to say it. Not an unreasonable chapter considering how prevalent cabs are in Korea.

The first thing I was being taught, after my teacher determined that I could greet the driver, wasn’t telling him where to go, but rather asking him if he spoke English. We must’ve spent five minutes going back and forth over this. Me saying I didn’t want the driver to use English, while he reassured me that most Koreans (and especially Korean tazi drivers) know enough English to understand me. Finally I broke out my Lang-8 notebook and wrote specifically (or as specifically as I can write) “I don’t want him to speak Korean” (저는 기사를 한국어 안 말해요).

According to Naver Translate I was nowhere near close to being correct, but he got the gist. I think. Or maybe he didn’t, as I immediately followed it up with “저는 기사가 한국어 말해요.” Nope, that’s wrong too. Perhaps “저는 기사가 한국어 말하고 원해요” (I want the driver to speak Korean” or my closest equivalent (I want speak Korean and the driver). But that he understood. And we started conversing more and more before the bottom fell out (again), and I went back into my shell.

And this essentially sums up the night: me being taught things I didn’t want to learn. Followed by me refusing to learn what was being taught because I saw no point in it. As I said earlier, it was rough for both of us, as I’ve felt what he was feeling with my non-participating ass.

Which is really the one takeaway: I’ve now taken on, and experienced, the role of frustrated, bewildered student. Hopefully I’ll be able to channel this the next time no one my students becomes unresponsive.

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