In fact, it was a pretty awful day.
Now that I am teaching middle schoolers again… I have this pair of class clowns, Brian and Charles. They are quite smart, high level English speakers. But they know how to piss me off, and enjoy doing it as a form of entertainment, for themselves and to impress their peers, since I am mostly viewed as being pretty level headed in the classroom. Today I left the classroom for a moment, and they locked the door. Great fun.
Later, when I put them in front of the 부장, they did their standard innocent-boy song and dance, very good with all the appropriate deferentials and humble vocabulary that Korean provides, and as always there was no punishment or consequence. I have this feeling that my colleagues somehow see them as different students than I do, mediated as it is through the lens of their own language and culture.
Later I talked for a long time with Curt about it. He knew it was upsetting me, because I rarely go to him with this sort of issue. But resolution was inconclusive, anyway.
He ended up hurting my feelings. We were trying to discuss the boys' personalities… talking about adolescent selfishness, etc. Curt said that I was selfish too. And in fact I know it is true. I persist in being selfish in a kind of Ayn Randian sense, although I long ago rejected that sort of philosophy – old habits die hard, and all that. Further, Koreans seem to view selfishness as a defining trait of all Americans, as much to be admired as disapproved of. Despite those things, still my feelings managed to be hurt.
A bad teacher. A selfish person.