Thursday, March 08, 2007


From Tuesday until about an hour ago, I've been on call to do placement interviews for the new crop of students. This style of interview-- where students come at you one after another-- reminds me a bit of what I used to do at my previous job with [that company in Kangnam]. Some of the same problems cropped up today as well. For example, some students didn't show up, thereby leaving me hanging. These were back-to-back, ten-minute interviews; if a student was a no-show, I was left in suspense until the next student showed up soon after-- i.e., the "free" ten minutes were not spent as if I had been on break.

Consistent with Murphy's Law, several students showed up at the wrong time, either too early or too late, and there were, of course, the stragglers who signed up for interviews at the last minute, filling up slots I had thought were blank. I was called in twice after my shift had ended to do extra interviews; it was stupid of me to linger in the office.

We are teaching four levels of English conversation this time around: Intro, 1, 2, and 3. I had four interviewees who fell into the "Intro" category; they couldn't even form a sentence. Most of my interviewees were, strangely enough, around Level 2, and a small group were Levels 1 and 3.

A few Level 1 students, wriggling with delight at how "comfortable" their interview with me had been, asked, "What level are you teaching?" They were happy to hear that I would be teaching Level 1 this time around (I'm doing Level 1 for conversation, but am also teaching an Intro-level reading class and a special intermediate-level "CNN" listening/reading class). I was happy that they were happy. What you don't want to see is a look of horror on the student's face when you tell her that, yes, you're likely to be her teacher.

I have no idea how good or bad the semester is going to be. Non-intensive 12-week terms tend to feel a bit lackluster, especially as the students exit the "honeymoon period" of the first two weeks and realize that they're in it for the long haul. As always, I envy those EFL teachers who teach required courses, because they suffer less from attendance issues than we, the hagwon-style teachers, do.

It's doubtful that I'll run an English Circle and French class during the semester. If anything, I plan to devote my spare time to exercise, now that my book is pretty much ready to launch (packages still haven't arrived, dammit). I have other projects in the works, including some new CafePress tee shirts, mugs, and mousepads. I'll be working on these over the weekend. I'm also planning to concentrate on The Sanshin's Tiger again (that's my children's book, in case you forgot), and am planning to put Scary Spasms in Hairy Chasms online at CafePress. A followup to Scary Spasms is on tap, but I won't be working on any of these book projects for a while. Gonna rest a bit, then think about an aggressive marketing campaign for the current book.

I'm all interviewed out, and since I didn't get much sleep last night, I think I'll have a nap.


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