Yesterday, full of ups and downs and some in between. Starting with taekwondo where we continue to practice for the test on the 26th. After our session I went home to finish my bi-monthly student reports. These are easy to do as they are filled out on-line and don't usually involve any typing. I've managed to finish mine four days before their due date so I can now have a work free weekend.
Unfortunately I didn't have much time to myself in the afternoon because there was a work meeting for the foreign teachers. This was pretty straight forward but I think it was a good idea for this to take place as we have a new teacher at our branch and it's always good to brush up things. It lasted an hour and it highlighted a few things I was doing wrong but also reminded me that mainly, I am doing what they are asking me to.
After that there was hardly any preparation for my days classes but my first class was being observed my foreign manager (basically my boss - my branch manager is not really my boss). I got to choose the class being evaluated and chose my first and they didn't let me down. I think things went well, I did what she wanted to hear and am expecting a decent write-up. I'll be shocked if it's ultra critical.
And then onto the rest of the day. Elementary school kid numbers were down on the day as many were preparing for Fridays big school test. This meant that things were more relaxed and I actually got to play a few games with some kids. I had only two Middle school classes and numbers were down greatly due to two reasons, firstly because they are studying for exams again and some have class exemption and secondly because of the World Cup game against Argentina. On occasions like this with four and three students in class I play a straight bat and go through all the material in class as normal. The kids don't want to be there and I don't want to be either and from experience, doing the work ends up being 'less painful' as a lesson than playing a game that they are 'too good for'.
Classes were punctured with screams of joy and encouragement as people in the neighbourhood watched the game and cheered on Korea. Those kids who missed class and got to watch the game might well have wished they didn't as Argentina won 4-1. As they bell to end the last class sounded many of us gathered round a PC to watch a stream of the game. We managed to watch the last twenty minutes which was all Argentina. At work yesterday most of my Korean co-workers were decked out in red to support their nation. The atmosphere was really good in the teachers room.
Prior to the World Cup starting I had mixed feelings about how well I wanted Korea to do. Now I really want them to go as far as they can because of my wife. She has really enjoyed watching the games. It would be great for her to see her team to win some more games.
However, I can't help think that some Koreans (I don't mean my co-workers here) set themselves up for a fall. I feel that at times expectations are a little too high. People can become overly optimistic based not on reality but on misguided hope and in the face of evident facts. Hope is an essential quality to have as a human being but realism is important too. They still regularly show the games on TV from the 2002 World Cup where Korea made the semi-finals. I think this raises expectations a little too much.
Highs here can sometimes be too high and lows too low but perhaps this can be said of most nations. They do support their country fervently and that's something very positive I find. I hope people here are not too deflated, pick themselves up and get ready for their next game as they still have a great chance to qualify for the next round.
Regardless of Korea's feelings on the outcome the result means the World Cup is now alive after a lacklustre start. I am hopeing for more goals and good attacking play from here on in - though not from England. Korea play Nigeria next week in a 3:30am kick off. I will probably stay up and watch it, as it is now and will be for weeks to come. sleeping at night is a little tricky in this humidity.