I am not a certified teacher. I took a weekend course, someone gave me an official-looking piece of paper, and the next thing I knew I was standing in front of a classroom of 30 students who didn’t speak my language, under the pretense that I would somehow educate them.
It’s been interesting, to say the least.
I like to think that, for the most part, I am a good teacher. I try to make engaging lessons that encourage student participation. I attempt to plan activities that make even the shy or lower level students comfortable enough to raise their hand. I try to make them laugh and enjoy learning. I work to be patient, kind, and forgiving to even the most demonic of children. I spend my own money, and take night and weekend time to plan special lessons for my students.
Sometimes, though, even my best efforts go a little astray.
There was the time I decided to make a pinata. I was teaching an after school class with an Around the World theme, and for an activity related to Mexico I thought they would enjoy hitting a pinata. Seeing as this is Korea, however, you cannot just go to your local mart and purchase a pinata.
I spent the first half of my lunch hour every day for a week paper macheing a couple of balloons, and the second half trying to scrub the homemade glue off my hands . I didn’t really have a plan for the balloons; I figured I’d just cut up some colored paper and decorate them. I didn’t even bother looking anything up to model it after. I got this, I thought! I grew up in California, so I was born knowing how to decorate a pinata, right?
Well, as it turns out, no. A heartfelt, resounding NO. I am not artistically inclined in the slightest, which may be the reason why my pinata turned out looking like a colorful, hairy penis.
It would have been more appropriate at a gay pride parade!
I was concerned, to say the least. I teach hormonal, middle school teenagers. Surely they would see this shape and snicker. But what could I do? I didn’t want to waste all of my hard work. For my second pinata I decided to actually model it after something online, and it didn’t turn out half bad. Luckily, the kids were so distracted by the thought of candy and hitting things that I don’t think they even noticed the pinata’s phallic tendencies.
But Kaleena Teacher’s phallic artwork didn’t end there. During a summer camp, I wanted to do the good ol’ exploding volcano experiment with the kids. I spent an evening creating a giant blob of dough to wrap around water bottles and create a volcano shape.
But the day was hot. It was one of those infamous Daegu summer days of 90 degrees with 95% humidity. Within five minutes, the dough had melted off the bottle into a puddle at it’s base, once again creating an alarmingly dong-like shape.
I thickened up the dough and the following volcanos turned out in their appropriate shapes. The first one never quite looked normal but again I hoped that the student’s minds weren’t as immature as their teacher’s. I let the students paint the volcanos, and I found it hilariously ironic that one team colored their volcano rainbow, vaguely resembling the penis pinata.
I documented the trials and tribulations of the process in this little video:
But there they were, pouring vinegar into a solution in the bottle and making it erupt a foamy, white substance out the top, and it was all I could do to keep it together.