You will be curious at this blog-post's title. Who is teaching Bulgarian?
I had a vivid, long dream last night.
I was sitting at my new desk in the new building, and Jody handed me a new schedule. Lo and behold, there were many surprises on the schedule – changes that affected me but about which I'd heard nothing prior to that moment. So far, so realistic… this happens once a month or so. It's part of life-at-the-hagwon, the "zen" of working as a member of team where communication is never quite what one would hope, due to both linguistic and cultural issues. I try to just shrug at these things, though just yesterday, I had a minor "tantrum" about a change – perhaps that brought on the dream. But then it got weird.
Studying the schedule closely, however, I noticed, written under a middle school block, the characters "бълг". Was this some weird cyrillic typo?
I went to Jody and pointed at it. What's this? She shrugged, and said Curt put it there.
I went to Curt. He was in the hallway moving desks. This is not unrealistic, but the hallway looked like a Hongnong hallway, not a Karma 4.0 hallway. I was self-aware enough, in the dream, to be disconcerted by this. But I was too upset about the schedule mystery to worry about it.
I collared Curt and pointed at the schedule. What's this?
"Bulgarian," he bellowed, optimistically.
Bulgarian? Why would I be teaching Bulgarian to middle school students in Korea?
Some parents requested it.
Ah, well, that's typical. Customer is king, and all that. Uh, another problem: I don't know Bulgarian.
Curt grinned at me. "You say you're a linguist. You can solve it."
I did see it as something of a challange. I downloaded a "Teach yourself Bulgarian" file from the internet, and printed out some copies.
A few hours later, I'm in my classroom, which resembles a converted storage closet (not necessarily unrealistic). There is an annoying concrete column in the middle of the room, and I try to rearrange the desks so the students can see the whiteboard around it.
My students show up. They are new students – unfamiliar faces. Two of them are speaking something slavic-sounding to each other. Hmm.
I had decided at the start that I would stick to honesty. So I make a long, detailed, impassioned speech, in English, explaining that I am their teacher and that I will guide them in learning Bulgarian, even though I don't know it myself. I don't mention, but have in mind, the fact that some Korean teachers of English are in fact not very good at English. It's not that different.
In fact, possibly this is what the dream is about, in some indirect way?
That's where I woke up. I thought to myself, I should write this down.
I wrote it down.
[daily log: walking, 6.5 km]