Archive for February, 2007

That evil vicar look

Another thing I’ve been watching on the internet recently is That Mitchell and Webb Look. One of the highlights was a sketch about a couple visiting a church:

A man and a woman enter an Anglican church.

Woman: I think it’s great the way churches have become more inclusive and open-minded these days.

Man: [Sounding bored] Yeah – I’m sure. I just don’t think I’m really religious.

Woman: Oh, they’re happy just to talk about stuff; and it’s a great place to make friends.

A stern, mustachioed vicar steps in front of the couple.

Vicar: [With distaste] Can I help you?

Woman: Hi! Erm, we’re new to the area, we’ve just bought three of the old alms houses, we’re having them knocked through and we thought we’d just pop in and say Hi.

Vicar: Who the Hell did you think you were going to say Hi to – the Lord your God? Because I’m not sure you’ve lived lives worthy of his attention.

Man: Err –

Woman: Ha. And, yeah, we’re not particularly religious, I suppose, but I think we’d both say we were spiritual people, wouldn’t we, Tom?

Man: Nyuh.

Woman: And we’re just interested to find out more.

Vicar: ‘Not particularly religious’? ‘Interested’? ‘Spiritual’? … Are you testing me, Satan?

Woman: Um, what happened to the friendly lady vicar with the colourful jumper that I met last week?

Vicar: She’s gone, child. They’ve all gone – banished by the bishop. I know where they’re going eventually – in the meantime: Daventry. We’re back.

Man: Who?

Vicar: The incredibly horrible and twisted people who are still unaccountably vicars.

Woman: [To man] Maybe we should –

Vicar: I saw you in here last week. I saw you reading the notices and talking about your views and eating other people’s biscuits – we were all watching you from the vestry and we all thought you were a _bitch_.

Man: Steady on. Look, I mean, my wife’s entitled to her views.

Vicar: Oh, isn’t she just? Aren’t you all _entitled_ to your half-arsed musings on the divine? You’ve thought about eternity for 25 minutes and think you’ve come to some interesting conclusions. [An eerie wind starts to sound] Well, let me tell you – I stand with two thousand years of darkness and bafflement and hunger behind me, my kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants [Distant thunder rumbles] and I couldn’t give a ha’penny jizz for your internet-assembled philosophy!

Man: Look, Sally –

Woman: [To vicar] Look, we have a right to be here – this is a place of peace.

Vicar: Oh, please – that’s a very recent idea, and not one that I think is going to catch on.

Woman: Well, I’m certainly not –

Vicar: [Thrusts large a golden cross in the couple’s faces. Dramatic orchestral music begins to play] Begone! [He chases them] Begone to your satanic alms house conversion! Leave here, damned sinning dog of a whore!

The man and woman flee and exit the church. Music and sound effects cease.

Vicar: [In a normal, although somewhat annoyed voice] Oh, at least leave a quid for the upkeep!

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Annyonghi gaseyo, kids

My second class of the day, the oldest kindergarten students at my hagwon (well, one of two such classes), graduated on Friday. In front of a reasonably crowded auditorium they got up and recited the speeches I’d written for them – or rather, the edited, shorter versions my Korean colleague had given them. They were also each given an award – the awards having been invented by me. The Korean teacher doing the announcing had some trouble getting her tongue round ‘Most Meticulous’.

At one point, she also stopped because she was getting tearful. One man in the audience started clapping her and a few others joined in. This guy’s applause was very loud and slow, so it actually sounded like an insult. As far as I know, this teacher doesn’t even teach any kindergarteners, although she seems to have some administrative role. A couple of the other teachers (female, Korean ones – just thought I’d point that out) also started crying.

The kids had memorised their speeches pretty well, although there were some inevitable pauses. They were dressed in their uniforms and capes and mortar boards. After the ceremony, my two favourite students had their parents take photos of me with them.

This week I haven’t had any class in the same timeslot, which means I can go home early for a really long lunchbreak. First thing, though, I have a class of six girls. This is made up of the two non-Helen students I had previously and the girls from a large unwieldy class across the corridor. It’s not too bad, I suppose, but I’m not really doing the class any justice because I lack the energy and the will to care.

On the plus side, this is my last week of kindergarten. I hope I’ll be teaching some of my newly-old kindergarten students in my new schedule next week.

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Exchange rate watch

1 GBP = 1,841.52 KRW
1 GBP = 1.4850 EUR
1 GBP = 1.9653 USD

2,000,000 KRW = 1,086.1124 GBP

Bonus Random Exchange Rate

1 GBP = 139.69 Nepalese rupees (NPR)

Source: Yahoo! FinanceĀ 

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Just been watching an episode of Mock the Week from a few weeks ago. At the end, they had a round of Rejected Lines from Movies, each contestant chipping in with their suggestions. Here are a few:

Milk? Bread? Rich tea biscuits? Are you sure this is the right list, Mr Schindler?

[In a deadpan, Teutonic voice] This T-1000 cybernetic organism has encountered a problem and needs to close. Do you wish to send an error report?

Oh, there’s one thing I should tell you, Mr Darcy – I have chlamydia.

What, Rambo? You want to wait for a UN resolution?

[In a deep, ominous voice] Luke Skywalker, I am your mother.

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Exchange rate watch

1 GBP = 1,833.16 KRW
1 GBP = 1.5206 EUR
1 GBP = 1.9685 USD

2,000,000 KRW = 1,091.0412 GBP

Bonus Random Exchange Rate

1 GBP = 136.06 Bangladeshi taka (BDT)

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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Kindergarten cop-out

This past week represents something of an end of an era at my hagwon. We’ve been given new schedules for the coming term. For this month I’ll be doing the same number of classes that I did last month – which was two a week more than the previous couple of months. I’ve been told that the director wants me to do writing classes with the older students in the evenings and that therefore I’ll be coming off kindergarten duties. We’ll have more on that story later.

Mostly, the pm classes I now have are exactly the same as the old ones, but just moved to different classrooms and with the additional student or two. The extra class I have is a writing class with high school students. The high schoolers I’ve had in the past have been both low on English skills and low on confidence, with the result that those classes can be places of deathly silence. I was expecting similar when I walked into the new class, and was greeted with the customary look of mild shock and amusement. However, when I started speaking to the two 17 year old (ie, 15 year old) girls present it became clear that their English is very good and they’re more than happy to have a conversation. These are clearly my hagwon’s high flyers.

I also have new books to use in two classes, and I pretty much fumbled my way through them, but I think I’ll get used to them before too long.

In the past week my first class of three girls have really started turning against me. Their other teacher, a Korean, told me they had complained to their mothers that they wanted to leave, and that I should just have fun with them in my class. Unfortunately, the combination of their intransigence and my lack of child-friendly charisma doesn’t work too well in that respect. As an example of the former, while I can get them to play ‘Squares’, the bossy little girl who puts herself in charge has them playing collaoratively, rather than competitively – which is much of the fun of Squares.

I wrote January reports for them on Friday – honest, very slightly pissed off reports – and my co-teacher later told me that little Miss Centre-of-the-Universe’s mum speaks English and could I rewrite her report. I offered to do it later in the day, then she said would I mind if she did it. Obviously not. She may well have been irritated that I wasn’t more enthusiastic, but anyway.

That was her last day. The Korean kindergarten teachers aren’t a happy bunch and they’re all due to leave in the not too distant future. Apparently the kindergarten aspect of the academy’s business hasn’t been doing well, and the administrative staff blame the Korean teachers. I think my co-teacher just decided to throw in the towel.

Something we were due to do with the youngsters this month was a drama festival-type thing – for which the foreign teachers had to write plays or speeches for their students. I wrote a fantasy epic for my ‘good’ class (‘good’ should be taken relatively). But the whole thing’s now been cancelled. I was told to stop practising the play, but not tell the students that the event was off. Having rehearsed it every day for a couple of weeks they, a little surprisingly, weren’t at all happy when I kept saying we weren’t going to do it today.

I’ve published the play, Balgaru Strikes Back, on my writing blog.

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