Headache

July and January are “easy mode” for me.  No college classes, just the adults students (who are actually interested in learning English, natch) and then the mother-loving professor class.

Every summer (and winter) for one month me and my NET co-workers teach an informal class for the university faculty.  (The realprofessors who actually have Ph.D.’s and shit.)

On paper it sounds like a good idea, right?  Down here in lurvely Daegu there actually aren’t all that many opportunities for them to practice their English, so let’s do a few hours every week together?

Well, the first problem is ability level.  Some of the profs did their graduate work in America (my boss, for example) and their English is pretty damn good.  Others didn’t, and for no fault of their own they really struggle with the informal, conversational level we shoot for.  So after the first week they are mortified and embarrassed and stop coming.  So then the close-to-fluent profs, for no fault of their own, are like “Why am I bothering with this shit when I could go home early and spend quality time with my family?”  (My school closes at 4 pm in the summer, rather than 6.)

So like clockwork, starting next week, the class size goes down from 12 to 1 or 2, or even 0.

My boss is a sharp guy, but I’ve sort of hinted to him starting last summer that we should kind of just scrap this whole charade or divide the class into two or three sections based on actual skill level.

But no, we can’t do that, because that would be deeply embarrassing to the lower-level profs who are already a bit terrified to be speaking to an actual foreigner in the first place.

So yeah, pretty much the definition of a Korean fustercluck.

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