of chaos

So there’s this strain of thought in physics called the Chaos Theory (or less eloquently; the second law of thermodynamics). I’m not going to pretend that I know much about it—all I remember from high school is that the universe’s natural state is entropy. No matter how hard you try to organize things, it will always, without fail, 100% of the time, either stay the same–or fall apart . It will never, magically, get more organized. And our job, as a species, is to put everything back together.

or watch it descend into a writhing mass of anarchy–your choice

People have a lot to say about this phenomenon. Famous people who get memes made and posted on “inspiration” pinterest boards; and not famous people who philosophize while laying in bed staring at the ceiling when they can’t sleep. Personally, I don’t know how I feel about chaos. I’m not quite deep enough for that.

But today, Director said something that made me ponder.

During our daily teacher meeting, she said that she was watching the CCTV of the new teacher’s classrooms. This statement is in itself terrifying, and I could write an entire post about privacy in Korea, but for now just know that Big Brother is always watching me.

Anyway, she was watching the CCTV and said, looking at Sohee and I, that “the new teachers were doing a great job” That our classes were, “beautiful.” I thought this an interesting choice of adjective. I know it’s more of a language barrier than a deep thought, but I kind of like it. Seeing as my classes do not resemble anything society at large would consider beautiful. No—they are absolute chaos.

Or sometimes I let them run around (in some kind of semi-organized word game) to get the energy out and they’re screaming and laughing and pounding on the walls.

For example, today my Ninas were out of control. I walk in and Mr. E is literally riding on Mystery’s back pretending to be a camel and rider (our unit is “Amazing Animals”.) I got them to open their books on their desks at least and there were a bunch of multiple choice questions about the reading. They’re abnormally smart and knew the answers without having to discuss. But I forced them to think about it and said each wall was A,B,C, or D and they had to run to the right answer wall and the first one there would get a star next to their name.

and who doesn’t want that?

Mystery and Mr. E were the only kids who wanted to do it. Jully was content to sit at her desk and point, which I wholeheartedly agreed with. (I was the kid sitting on the side during freeze tag hoping no one touched me because then I’d have to run which is the worst).

Or in my Navi class instead of just reading the story, I gave someone the squishy hammer and let them pummel the next reader on the head. (Someday I will write an entire post on the squishy hammer, but for now just accept that it is a  yellow and pink hammer that makes a loud noise but doesn’t actually hurt). If someone watched the CCTV, it literally looks like the kids are bullying each other (but laughed about it…)

What I’m trying to say is—my classes are not beautiful. They are an anarchic mess and we somehow (usually) get the pages we need to get done, done and maybe someone learned something maybe not.

I don’t do the grading

And 6 1/2 straight hours of teaching later I collapse into my desk and throw the materials from my  last class on top of my keyboard with all the flashcards and hammers and sticky balls and pens and markers and book reports and crayons of the day; knowing that I have to sort through them and put them in folders, with the right names on them, to help future teachers (and save a couple of trees). Once again I have to make order of the entropy.

But then I come back into my snug apartment and sit on my warm floor and write on my little Asian table realizing that I made 76 friends this week (84 if you count all the co-teachers and desk workers).

And right now—I’m just going to lay here and stare at the ceiling and ponder just how beautiful chaos can be.

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2 responses to “of chaos

  1. Pingback: of orange ade and gluesticks | That One Time in Seoul·

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