Monday 21 July 2008

Korean Middle School To Implement Foreign Teacher's Recommendation

Foreign Teacher Vivian Traces 

A Korean Public Middle School in Daechi district of Southern Seoul has decided to follow the recommendation of their foreign teacher, Vivian Traces.

"Beebeean have to been a teacher here since two years now, and we're very happy with the her," said Han MinCheol, the academic director of Daechi DaeHan Middle School. "There are times when her suggestions are unusual for Korean school, but this time, we thought it was time to follow her advice."

Kang PyungSeh, the school's principal, told DokdoIsOurs, through an interpreter, "In Korea's five-thousand year history, we hope true global interactions like this shall become the rule, rather than the exception, leading Korea to its rightful place as a leader and Hub of Nations around the world. Truly, we are opening up, and learning from all nations, in order to make our beautiful country a jewel in Asia's crown."

Vivian herself was a little flushed at the time of interview, and shook her head a lot, as if in some kind of disbelief. "I've been going to these meetings for two years now, and they mostly talk Korean. Then about once a meeting they ask me a question and I answer, and then they talk in Korean more. JiMin sits beside me and sometimes she whispers what they're speaking about to me. They don't listen to her very much, either." Though she has attended twenty-six of these monthly meetings now, Vivian says they have always been almost completely held in Korean.

"I have a great apartment, so I'm not going to complain much, you know? I live right above a Joe Sandwich, and they remember my usual order there. It's a good school, and the kids are cute." Vivian has a PDP in Elementary School Education from Queens University in Kingston, Canada.

"She didn't even realize the board decided to follow her advice until after the meeting finished, because they were speaking in Korean -- I had to tell her. She didn't seem too impressed," Choi JiMin, Vivian's teaching partner told DokdoIsOurs on the scene. "I could have told her during the meeting, if I wanted, because the older, male teachers usually do most of the talking and decision making on curriculum and strategy, but I decided to wait until after, so I could invite her out for some celebratory Baskin Robbins," Ms. Choi said, and looked over her shoulder to see if Ms. Traces had already left.

Asked how often she is asked to make suggestions or recommendations, Vivian, who graduated at the top of her education class and edited the student-published education department newsletter, said, "About once or twice a meeting they ask me what I think, mostly just to justify why I'm here, so that Chairman Park can leer at me," she said, and surreptitiously nodded toward an older gentleman in a suit, who at that moment was looking fondly at their teacher of the hour.

And what was the matter of her first-ever to be implemented recommendation? "They always shoot down the suggestions I offer from what I learned in teacher's college, as T.A. for Dr. Joanne Brexler, one of North-America's top Teaching EFL Scholars," Vivian said, "So when they asked me what we could do to get students to speak up more in class, and feel more comfortable with English, I just said, 'More tests'. Fu¢king bullshit." Ms. Traces then abruptly ended the interview and left the staff room, not partaking in the coffee social kindly provided by the Middle School's Principal, followed quickly by Choi JiMin, her co-teacher, who left the room shouting, "BeeBeeAnn! Wait!"

Now without his interpreter, Principal Kang PyungSeh came for a second interview, greeting DokdoIsOurs with a jovial, "How long you been Korea?" but DokdoIsOurs had an urgent call to another location. "Do you know Kimchi?" the kind principal said to DokdoIsOurs' intrepid, disappearing back.

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