Sunday, November 30, 2008

School Festival

In Korean public schools, it seems classes and whole days of classes are canceled as often as not. Last week, of the sixteen classes I normally teach at my primary school, I taught a total of six. Fine with me, though I wish that I had a private office to sit in during those canceled classes, instead of a desk in the room where the teachers and administrators come together in a cacophonous mess of 70 decibel Korean every ten minutes.

Anyway, Friday was School Festival Day, and the classes were gearing up for it all week, and even the week before. Each class got a five minute slot in which to perform, usually some sort of song and dance.

There were trucks in the parking lot of school selling cotton candy in cups and various plastic, flower bouquet-like contraptions. Many of the students were done-up in there traditional Korean best make-up and dresses. The librarian had been cutting out giant Korean characters for days. Anticipation was in the air!

The mothers, and their cameras, came out in hordes!

Two of my favorite students dressed up as bride and groom to play emcee.

One of the cutest little girls I've ever seen, performing a song with her first grade class.

Deep concentration was required by all. (don't think about cookies.... don't think about cookies....)

The whole thing was a giant whirl of colors!

This guy, who was clearly someone important, based on the greeting he got from the principal (whose ear is on the right), did what many high-status Korean men do -- ignored the hundreds of people behind him (and the zoom button, apparently) to get what he wanted.

One of my sixth grade classes performed a lovely enactment of "The Tortoise and the Hare" (in English), including this fight scene. I edited the script. Where I suggested that "the lesson of the story is..." should be maybe "the moral of the story is..." the final line of the play was "Maybe the moral of the story is..." Oh well, they like humility here. Maybe telling your elders what the moral of a story is would be presumptuous.

Then, unfortunately, the batteries in my camera died, so I have no pictures for you of the very cutest student of all, the amazing dance of Korean dragons to traditional Korean music, or the animated show my fifth grade class put on using 24 sketch pads held together in a giant square. Next time, charge the batteries the night before a big event!

It was a very entertaining afternoon. It was really fun to see the students so excited and to meet some (though too few) of their mothers. On the down side, it was followed by dinner at a grill-your-own-pig-meat-at-the-table restaurant, so we got home at 7:00 hungry, annoyed, and smelling like burnt pig flesh. But that's nothing that a change of clothes, a big bowl of popcorn, and an in bed screening of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? can't cure.


Melanie said...

You're awesome! Thanks for the movie and the support through the great meat grill off. :-)

NicoleB said...

The shots are lovely!
Don't you dare ever forget to charge your batteries again :)
That whole thing is so typical Korean :D

Why was the pig grill not a success (not that I had ever heard of a place like that, hubby never really liked much to go out to eat at these local places)


Michael Levy said...

@Nicole - besides forced socialization with co-workers, we're vegetarian, which just doesn't fit well with Korean restaurants, especially this variety.

Thanks for reading!

Nicole said...

Uh, I can only imagine how "nice" it was to smell like that then.

Oh well,...., all for good relations ;)