Korean kids, originally uploaded by taylorsloan.

Boring kids is about as easy as you’d think it is. My second lesson found me overcompensating for my faults in the first one, resulting in confused kids not sure what to do with themselves. The only saving grace was that I’d planned enough to do to fill up the full fifty minutes, just like last week. But that didn’t help when kids started falling asleep.

To be fair, it wasn’t entirely me. There was a huge English exam this morning, and many of the kids stayed up all night studying for it. But I should have taken the advice of the Camp Instructor whom I teach under a bit more thoughtfully. Last week, she told me I talked too slowly for the language level of the kids. This week, apparently, I talked fast as hell, blowing through my lesson and dropping words in my explanations that they’d recognize if they read them, or if I enunciated them – but not if I said them at normal native English-speed. I also atomized them, a big no-no when teaching Korean kids. I had them work on their own, drawing and writing a story based on the badass FX test trailer for Tron: Legacy that director Joseph Kosinski made to sell the idea to Disney. The trailer’s pretty ambiguous – you don’t know who the characters are, what they want, where they’re going, or even where the film will be set (unless you remember the original Tron, of course). I figured it was perfect to let the kids’ imaginations run wild and devise their own setting, character motivation, conflict, etc. And for the most part they liked the idea – they just didn’t get what I meant by character motivation because I spoke too quickly explaining it. When asked to present their stories at the end, one girl did an excellent job, carefully explaining the setting and characters, while another was too shy to even let me look at the paper. The majority just looked at me tiredly, reading their stories when prompted, but never volunteering. In fact, I’ve yet to see a Korean student volunteer to speak, either in my classes or in the classes of my partner I teach with.

The last practice teaching session for us is on Friday. The caveat? No technology. No PowerPoint, no YouTube, nothing. All handouts and chalk and animated movements to make sure the students don’t lose interest. This is probably a good thing. A million dollar trailer and a 20-slide PowerPoint didn’t hold their interest like I wanted. Maybe doing away with all that is for the better, or would be if Friday’s topic wasn’t fucking Home Economics. What the shit? Do people still learn that in high school? I have a new Camp Instructor and partner for this one. The CI advised not to talk too much about family – many of the camp kids come from broken homes. Okay. Then she advised I talk about my family, which, while not “broken” in the “Mom’s a crackhead down by the docks and I live in a trailer with Pa and his co-worker from Chick-Fil-A” kind of way, isn’t exactly cohesive or inspiring. I guess I’ll think of something. All I remember from Home Ec when I went to Randolph High School was doing a presentation on riboflavin. Home Ec didn’t even exist at Arcadia. We took media production class instead.

In other news, apparently Inception was the greatest thing to come out in years, then it wasn’t, now it is again. The internet has a bit too much power, I think. Backlashes against popularity happen far too quickly, and are often just as unreasonable as the hype that made the film / artist / singer / comedian popular in the first place. Finding equilibrium is pretty turbulent, especially on the internet. I’ve still not seen Inception, although it’s playing in the nearby city of Cheongju. I may see it soon. Divorced from my DVD collection, though, and busy as hell planning lessons, taking Korean class, attending workshops and supplemental talks, and all-around trying not to pass out from too little sleep, I haven’t been watching many movies, although I’ve been enjoying and hating plenty of movie trailers. Comic-Con just ended (the Harry Potter fan “stabbing” being the highlight, as far as I can tell), and the most buzz seems to be surrounding Zack Snyder’s Suckerpunch trailer. Snyder can’t do characters for shit, and this may be even worse in that sense considering it’s based on an original idea of his and not a comic property (like 300 and Watchmen, the former of which was painful and the latter of which tried too hard to do too much and just looked silly). Suckerpunch looks like a 14-year-old boy put all his action and sexual fantasies in a blender, hit puree, then threw it at the screen. It may either be awesome in the eye-candy sense or truly bad. Hopefully it doesn’t fall into too much Frank Miller female assassin objectification shit (and it looks like it will), but samurais, dragons, and Nazis fighting in a little girl’s head? How can you fuck that up?

Then there’s The Social Network, which wouldn’t look half as interesting were it not for the fact it’s directed by David Fincher and looks pretty dark. After watching the trailer, I read up on Jeff Zuckerberg, the main co-founder of Facebook and subject of the film. He’s my age and worth about $4 billion. Because he started a small social networking site at Harvard in undergrad. Yeah. The film’s based on a ‘tell-all’ book of sorts, and doesn’t paint Zuckerberg in the best light. All-in-all, the film looks nothing short of fascinating.

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