The only problem I seem to have is the morning broadcasts. I did two and the co-teachers loved it. I had nice music for intro and close, and I had it all planned out with a sort of ad-libbed casual conversation with me and the co-teacher where I stopped the dialogue and would explain some of the finer subtleties of our conversation. I successfully explained about respect in America, and our not formalized yet very real respect language and why I should be called Ms. Leith instead of Leanne teacher. And all the kids call me Ms. Leith now. The kids were actually listening! I might be the only foreign teacher in Korea addressed in an American way, at this point!
But then I got called to the principal’s office. He was a little upset I wasn’t using the book that Wayne teacher had written the year before for this year. The book, it seems, cost a lot of money to print, and we had to justify its cost by using it. Plus, everyone was confused why they hand out the book every morning and it doesn’t get used. But, okay and I love the former teacher, as he’s really kind and got me this job, and funny and, etc. but this book just sucks ass. I looked at his former books and they were much better, and his first one is really good, but this one is laid out weird and is very formal in speech and some of the dialogues are college or business English kind of scenarios…and the worst part of all is it has pop songs with translations and am I supposed to lead the entire freaking school in karaoke????????? I told the co-teacher I’m really not comfortable singing those songs, and what was Wayne thinking, was he really going to lead the whole school in karaoke? I don’t even know half those songs, pointing out the very first one from a movie I’d never heard of…to which the co-teacher replied, “oh but these are all very famous songs from popular movies.” Well, I told her, I guess that might be because I don’t see blockbuster movies much. “but this was an independent film!” Oh…
OK. So I will use the damned book. So I use the book and a white board and give little culture points about why what is in the book is too formal and then give examples of casual talk. Afterward, I am told by the co-teacher that my broadcast was not interesting enough and some teachers have been complaining that I need to make flashy power point presentations. They need to be flashy or the students will get restless and then they will have problems controlling the students.
OK. So I make power point presentations so the other teachers can have a ten minute break in the morning. grrr. (remember, I’m only given an hour to prepare for these, and this bumps me up to two hours) And I use the power points to illustrate why we don’t talk business-like with real people in real conversations. Afterward, I am told there have been complaints that I do not speak loud enough. I complain back that the mike should be turned up and the co-teacher tells me my mike is fine and I need to talk louder. Meanwhile, I can hear her mike but not mine. So now I have to yell unnaturally if I get the wrong mike…
So I continue to make broadcasts, giving the students interesting cultural facts about WHY we say what is in the dialog in the book. Afterward, I am told by the co-teachers that there have been complaints because it is not clear what is in the book and what I am adding. They want the students to all read and repeat, read and repeat. But what about culture? I thought you wanted me to teach more culture? Yes, but the other teachers – they don’t care about culture.
Well, so I have different colored backgrounds for when we are reading out of the book, and when I’m talking about culture. And stick drawings for alternate, more natural conversations that I add. I haven’t heard any more complaints. Maybe they’ve just given up. I have zero idea what the other teacher had planned on doing with this material. I did mention to him that I wasn’t doing a good job being him and being forced to be him every morning wasn’t so great, to which he said sorry. And then I asked him what he was planning on doing with the songs. “Those? Oh, those were not my idea…”
OK. So I’m trying to stretch out the first half of this book as long as I humanly can, because it’s bad enough I have to perform somebody else’s lessons but I really, really, REALLY don’t want to lead the entire school in Karaoke to bad movie soundtracks!