I am feeling somewhat agitated. I got a phone call this morning between classes and I did not like it. It was the leader of the city employees calling to tell me what the group had decided to do tomorrow, the day of our scheduled outing. Now, I originally invited them to go do something special with me when the weather got warm enough. I have brought this up and proposed a plan at least three times. The proposal was to go to a lake area in this part of the city to take a walk and have a picnic lunch. They said yes to that proposal every time it was brought up, albeit without any gratitude and enthusiasm but that is their attitude all the time. Now they tell me what we’re going to do and it is not that plan. I am ticked off.
I have to go meet them because I am their teacher for the mid-morning class, but I do not intend to stay with them. Though I had been willing commit some of my own personal time with them that day, I certainly do not feel like sticking with them, or rather being towed along according to their own plan that they hatched up behind my back. They want to take cars, then walk for an hour and then go sit on their bums stuffing their faces for one-and-a-half to two hours. Then they would force me to go where they decided to go and force me to accept them paying for my meal, about which I would feel quite uncomfortable, so forget it. I start out with them and then continue on the trail and have my outing. Walking for an hour would entail going through the woods and up over a ridge, then turning around with hardly a glimpse at the lake. Bosh!
I guess I will have to talk to them about his incident. I think I should do it in the next class rather than tomorrow. For one thing, there is our relationship. For another, they are preparing to go abroad and must be better aware how to interact with Americans. Thirdly, they are preparing to eventually converse, assist and collaborate with foreigners in the course of their civic duties in Busan. They cannot pull such stunts with others. They must understand that their “Korean way” (euphemism for doing what they want as a group or generally showing bad manners to outsiders) is quite abrasive and will get them into trouble.
Yes, I must button up tomorrow. However, I should assert myself and not let them offend me and walk over me. I will be silent about my feelings and head out as I am duty-bound to do, but I will carry on alone.
As a result of this conflict, I am reconsidering the evaluation of these students. I am supposed to assess their participation and give them scores. I have already created scores for attitude, but the deductions are minimal, as things stand at present. However, I think I should emphasize my point by reviewing the scores for attitude in class. Perhaps and blanket deduction of 5% would be appropriate.
The timing of that phone call was also bad. Not only is it the day before the above-mentioned outing, which is late and sneaky, as it should have been discussed in the class last week. In addition, calling me at five minutes to the hour meant that they caught me on a break on the morning of the heaviest work day of the week for me.
After becoming aroused by this news, and having to break off the call abruptly because I was still on the phone a couple of minutes into the next class period, I had not had time to get my mind on the next class and focus on the task at hand. Returning to the classroom in that agitated state, I mistook the class before me for the afternoon class, which is the second conversation class of the day, when it was in reality the composition class. By the way, I should mention that the course numbers of these two classes are very similar, one with codes bearing identical sets of digits, one with two inverted digits. That is, the afternoon conversation class is labelled 126-5, but the morning composition class is named 125-6. You see what I mean. In this confusion and state of agitation, I began lecturing the wrong lecture, and fumed at the students before me about something they could not understand, and not because I was using English. It was because I was talking about the course work at hand for the conversation class, and showing annoyance that the conversation class students had gotten behind schedule, rather than that of the composition class, which is up to date and well in order. The students were good about it. They are good kids. I hurriedly apologized and began sorting out my books and papers, and tried to get suppress my annoyance and get my mind back on track. I did have a class plan and everything prepared in my bag. I tried to concentrate and begin the lesson, endeavouring to shake off the ruffled feathers. It was a two-hour class, and on the break I took extra time so that I could exit the building to get a tea and sit outside in the sunshine for a few minutes in order to calm down.
I wish I did not have the Korean class later on tonight. I don’t HAVE TO do it, I supposed, but I should go ahead with it. In fact, it will probably be a good distraction. However, the Korean lesson of the week is a bit heavy, overloaded as it is with grammatical points. (WHY do all Korean lessons go like that, eventually?!) I will try to review the lesson material in the hour preceding the live online lesson. I did study the unit on the weekend and again last night.
I had to stay after the last class in order to wait around in case students wanted to drop by and pick up their marked homework assignments. I used the time to prepare a quiz for next week, and take care of a little personal business. I have finally gathered all the documents for the 2012 Canadian tax return and they are bundled and ready for posting. Because the registration for the Italian conference has still not been finalized, I tried to take a few minutes to deal with that. They cannot read my photographed and attached picture file copy of my registration form and are back to insisting that I scan it and send it as a different type of attached file via email, but scanners are not easy to come by, and I do not want to reveal this plan to go to Italy in June to the department staff. I therefore tried to take a better photo of the form. Here’s hoping it is more legible. At least the organizers are now willing to accept a credit card or Paypal transaction online, which is far more convenient. (I’ve already spent four hours at the post office trying to get a bank transfer wired through!)
The most pressing reason for having finally opened up the packaging containing my new PC monitor was that I am approaching the 120 post of this blog, A Year of Living Positively. It is a landmark for my writing career. I want to end Volume One of this work at the 120 post, and then assemble and edit it as one document for uploading to the e-publishing website. The time to do that is coming up fast, and I want to get it uploaded quickly.
The e-publisher, by the way, has asserted its rules and regulations and unpublished my preview of Confessions of a Klutz, the humorous autobiography with anecdotes about the clumsiness that occurs in daily life. I see their point. I just wanted it there when I thought the Canada Council assessors would be browsing my profile online and wanted to inspect my other material. I wanted to impress them that I am working on other projects, beside this one. I could carry on and present the first part as a single volume.
You can see that I am still plagued with bureaucratic and technical hitches. As I have remarked before, I should just accept that such problems are bound to occur, just as other types of problems are bound to occur. If I have a lot of such problems in my life, it is because I am intensely busy and trying to accomplish a lot. I feel in a great hurry, not only so as to meet the opportunities that arise, and satisfy my passions, but also because of my age. Positive thinking has made me want to squeeze more and more into the rest of my life time, so the little obstacles like technical issues and bureaucratic process seem like exaggerated hindrances to me, when they are probably normal in today’s world. I should remind myself, that many of the technologies and processes that exist today, allow one to pack more and more into the day, and learn and do much more in life.