I've heard that but never encountered it myself. Drunks yelling abuse at foreigners is common in Korea.JacarÃ© wrote:Btw, I've heard quite a few horrible stories about Koreans attacking foreigners for no reason other than to vent some frustrations and if the foreigner hit back at the Korean, the local would file a complaint with the police and the foreigner would be forced to pay large sums of money including the local's hospital's fee. Have you encountered or heard or saw any such occurences while there?
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Twice a year, in the spring and fall, the school used to have a tradition of sending the students home early so the teachers could spend the afternoon walking up the local mountain together before sharing a meal/piss-up. (Regrettably this seemed to end during my second year with the school, either because of budget cuts or because the new vice principal was a prissy, OCD-type faggot). Apparently this is/was a common Korean public school tradition. Where there is a male foreign teacher at the school, this gives the staff a chance to practice the other venerable Korean tradition of running him ragged as he tries to walk up a mountain they can easily handle and then laughing when he gets winded and sick, and then drinking him under the table and laughing when he flops around and throws up. They had made a half-hearted attempt to do this on the previous occasion, but I had proved a tough nut to crack, so this time they were going all out. Even though I knew what they were trying to do, I was looking forward to the afternoon for some reason.
I can't remember whether we had to walk to the start of the trail or rode in a mini-van on this occasion. Either way, the group of men that were selected to go first assembled on the start line. This consisted of many of the male physed teachers, a very fit soccer player teacher, a stocky, muscular, maintenance-guy-cum-teacher and me. They were all in their mountaineering shoes and jogging gear. I was in my teaching attire but had had the chance to change my Doc Marten shoes for running shoes. We set off at a trot, but soon slowed when some of the party began to find this hard. I had an advantage in that I lived just down the road, so most of the little exercise I had been doing consisted of walking up the various trails of this mountain after school. Also, though I didn't know it at the time I had the ideal physique for mountain trails. Even the extra flab I was carrying was probably beneficial. Hence I didn't have any trouble keeping up with the place. I tried to position myself second or third in the line.
The first guy to drop out was a big 6'6" basketball player. He sat on a bench panting and perspiring heavily even though it was relatively cool. I wondered what the hell was wrong with him. I would have thought he could have easily bounded up hills. (I now know this is exactly wrong. Tall guys like him not only have to drag along their extra weight, but have to expend proportionately more energy keeping themselves on an even keel every step). The next guy to go about 10 minutes later was another physeder who was also fairly tall. A few more dropped off as we climbed. Incidentally the scenery on the mountain was nice but not what I really like. The mountain itself is majestic, but as to the nature, it is like a desert with leafy trees mysteriously growing on it. The MASH TV series accurately depicted this area, even though it was filmed in California.
When we finally got to the temple that was our objective, we only had the soccer player, the maintenance guy, one of the physeders and me left. Not a good show for the physeders. The guys patted me on the back as we waited for the rest to catch up. Over the next 45 minutes or so everyone else arrived, pictures were taken, Buddhists in the party paid their respects and then we started the boring climb down. The restaurant we were heading to was off to one side of the trail.
We sat cross-legged on the floor round our tables and the soju drinking began immediately. The traditional Korean manner of consuming alcohol is for one person to pour a drink which the person consumes and then for them to trade places. They got me to do more that my share of this by insisting I do this with the principal, vice principal, and various teachers. If you had no alcohol tolerance, having large shot glasses of soju (20% spirit) forced on you like this would of course get you drunk in no time. Fortunately I have been essentially an alcoholic all my adult life, so once again their efforts were forlorn. In the mean time, the male teachers began to get drunk themselves. A couple of them drunkenly suggested that I should start a relationship with the smoking hot chick who was the head of the English Department (and my caregiver/boss). We bantered about this for a while, and the chick herself put in an appearance but realized what the Korean guys were doing, made her apologies to me and left. I pointed out that a relationship between her and me would never work because she was richer than me and better looking than me (and, luckily I didn't add, an arrogant bitch). At some point they, for some reason, thought I was taking them seriously and pointed out they were only joking and that she was married with two children. (I had been told this before but hadn't believed it, but it was true.)
Another smoking hot female co-teacher of mine was summoned over by my male attendants. I opined that they were trying to get me drunk. She backed them up by saying that no, it was just a Korean tradition. They then tried to get her to drink and she declined. I wanted to see her drunk so said "Hey, Korean traditionâ€¦". She objected that she had to drive and I backed off. (Lucky that, as she would have been pregnant then.) The men teachers kept trying to get other attractive females to drunk in the same way they were trying to get me drunk. Generally the female would pretend to imbibe the soju before surreptitiously pouring it away. The men must have noticed this but pretended not to, or maybe they were too drunk to notice. Eventually they noticed that I was strangely not getting as drunk as they had hoped. One of them said "Oh Cornfed, I think you have high resistance to this wine" and we proceeded to talk about alcoholic drinks in the West. And so it went on. Interestingly the principal confided in me though an interpreter that he habitually drank two bottles of soju a night (375ml, 20%) and then decided whether he should have a drink. I wondered why I thought ajoshis his age were fairly cool.
Eventually we broke up, with them thoughtfully asking if I knew the way home (I obviously did by then) and leaving me to stagger on my way while they took taxis. I actually bought a pitcher of beer on the way back as I was not really finished. In the morning the principal toured the staffroom and made a point of asking in his limited English whether I was feeling all right. Though feeling somewhat seedy I instantly perked up and exclaimed "I feel great". He grinned and said to the teachers around "He drink a lot" and went on his way. I'm not sure whether that afternoon made the Korean teachers respect me or feel that I was a rotten spoilsport for ruining their fun. I probably should be angry at them given what they were clearly trying to do, but it never really occurred to me to be angry for some reason.
Well, this is not particularly interesting, but is indicative of the weird things that sometimes happen to you when you are dealing with a lot of Koreans.
This happened when I was walking out of the school at the end of the work day. Lots of people were walking out the gate, but a little girl - about 5 years old - stood in the stream and walked up to me. When she talked to me I realized she spoke perfect English. When you are used to hearing Asians speak English, a single English word they speak is generally enough to judge their English. The conversation went like this:
Her: Hello, can I ask you a question?
Me: Yes, certainly.
Her: Are you a third grade teacher?
Me: No I'm not. I am a first and second grade teacher.
Her: Oh, thank you, goodbye.
And then she toddled off.
Anyway, I thought that was very weird. Maybe she was the younger sister of one of my students or something.
An interesting feature of Korean PS teaching is open classes. These are where various other teachers and school inspectors come along to view one of your lessons, which happens once a year. Traditionally the lessons are fairly farcical and designed by the (usually female) Korean co-teacher. The one I did first was fairly uneventful. I was then carted along to see a lot of them done by other Western teachers. I developed a sense of how they should go, at the same time as I developed a sense of what was realistic in real lesson. Hence I became opinionated on the subject and, being an outspoken jerk, would voice my opinion in the after-class wrap up. This may have actually made the world a better place by making the lessons more realistic, rather than the stylised farces that they had previously been.
Towards the end of my tenure I had to do a second open lesson myself. I dreaded getting a taste of my own medicine from my previous victims, but my Korean co-teacher managed to schedule the lesson just before a holiday when most people would not turn up. I really respect this Korean teacher as a teacher. The other teachers and I wondered how a teacher of her age could speak such good, unaccented English. I was never able to come up with an explanation. Strangely, although she seemed to think of me as an idiot, she wanted me to write the lesson (as I normally did). She didn't think it was necessary to do all the bullshit that went along with these lessons and just wanted to do a normal lesson. In the normal way I couldn't think of what to do for the lesson until the week before, but then in a bout of hard walking up a mountain trail, the entire lesson plan came to me.
So we did this lesson, with a minimum of outsiders in attendance, before a good, all girl class. It seemed to go perfectly. In the wrap-up session I really tried to elicit complaints from the other Western teachers, but they just didn't want to complain. The Vice-Principal, who had inherited me and basically despised me, spontaneously hugged me. So I guess it went well. The only negative comments on the lesson were lame ones from other female co-teachers, that I fended off fairly well. (I would have prevented them from being there if I had known they would.) So I may have done well and set the example for others to follow.
Cornfed, can you give me some tips on teaching English to Asian students? As you know, I'll be in China this fall, so it'll be really helpful if you could help me out a bit. Got any lesson plans you can give me, or any activities or books that you recommend? Thanks...
Sounds like you had a fun time teaching in Korea. After I read this literary masterpiece I decided not to go there.
Teaching English In South Korea
http://www.roadjunky.com/595/teaching-e ... uth-korea/
Co-teachers were basically a scourge of my life because they kept changing them and they all had their own agendas, and the job was difficult and required co-operation. They were all females. One of the good ones and I were talking early on in my stay. She was seated next to me in the staff room. This chick was a married lady of 45, but still looked girlishly pretty. She was terribly incompetent in teaching the one class she had with me, but was excellent with helping me with the after-school classes.
Anyway, I had mentioned that at the time I was interested in bodybuilding. She said "So do you have big muscles?". I said well maybe and then she asked to feel my muscles. Presuming she meant my biceps I offered my right bicep. I assumed she would say something like "Oh it's not so big" but instead she jumped in her seat and said "But there're like steel". This appeared to get her wound up and she started asking about whether there was any CCTV outside my apartment. (There was). I suppose I could have f***ed her, but that is now what I'm about.
They're a problem at my school too, Cornfed. Foreign teachers outrank teaching assistants (most of whom are not needed and can be blatantly unhelpful or even harmful) and are easily replaceable. But several at my school act like they are in charge and boss around foreign teachers. We usually ignore them, but they are irritating and often impede things. I'm guessing in many places it is similar. I think in China there is an unstated belief that foreigners must not be allowed to be in control, even when it comes to teaching their own f***ing language...Almost every Chinese employee at the school has shitty English, so hilarity ensues on a daily basis.
OMG funny stuff - and great honesty.
Exactly the kind of input we need more of!
The jailbait thread causes me to bring this incident to mind. At the end of a school day I was walking down the main stairs. At the bottom of the stairs there were two big pretty girls chatting. They were both tall (~5'll''), big boned and swarthy, but very pretty. Since I didn't recognize them they must have been third graders, as I wasn't teaching third grade at the time, and at that time of year they would have likely been 15. One of them saw me and smiled, slapped her companion on her firm, shapely ass, and then they walked away arm in arm leaning into each other with their hands on each other's asses. I of course did not acknowledge them and continued walking unaffected, although I did start carrying my laptop case on my front rather than at my side.