These last two days, I have gone all-out to approach my teaching and my world with a sort of broad gentleness, and an attitude of thankfulness and kindness. Partly in the spirit of the holidays. Partly in the spirit of the kindness of my employers, who, despite their recent criticisms of my abilities, remain genuinely decent, fair-minded people, whose foremost concern is the kids – in this respect, I seem to have lucked out over the more mass-production language hagwons that seem to predominate here.
But mostly, because I have become more and more convinced that my best personal cure to episodes of anger and frustration is simply to "think" myself out of it. That's the cognitive behavioral therapy thing, right? So…
And the honest truth, the last two days have been much happier and less stressful days at work. Not perfect… no, those T2's are still… well, no comment.
But the T1's – wow, what a smart group of kids. We're doing a unit on biology. I put together a lecture on the Monerans for Wednesday, and we kept on it today, answering quiz questions via discussion and reading more material. I got to talk about stuff I'd long forgotten and have been reading furiously to remember from my almost-minor in botany back as an undergrad at Minnesota: prokaryotes vs eukaryotes, the symbiotic origins of chloroplasts and mitochondria, the carbon cycle, taxonomic systems and phylogenetics. And for the most part, at least half are keeping up with me.
And though not quite the same level, academically, the Monday/Friday 수능 cohort, are just plain pleasant and fun, as we talk about democratic movements being suppressed in Egypt and Korean Presidential politics (they'll have elections in December) – I got them to make a prediction that 이명박 would be the winner. We'll see if this pans out – I have this vague recollection of reading somewhere that, in the U.S. anyway, polling teenagers is a better predictor of presidential race outcomes than polling adults. Perhaps because they know what their parents are thinking and saying, and report more sincerely than adults self report in polls?
And then I came home to a wonderful, entertaining, uplifting email from my best friend Bob, demonstrating again why he's my best friend. And now I'm watching David Letterman on my TV, eating some delicious ramyeon with mystery vegetables (and chopped tomato and way too much chili paste added), and writing my blog.
It was suddenly a bit warmer today – maybe 15 C. And raining earlier, and now foggy. I'll go to my Korean class tomorrow. I've actually begun to remember some bits of vocabulary, too. Maybe there's hope for that impossible project (ie. actually learning this baroque, beautiful, convoluted language), too!