of a day in the life

I want this blog to be more of a commentary than a diary because diaries are only interesting if you’re Anne Frank and while my life isn’t perfect it certainly isn’t that bad.

But, today had a lot of interesting moments that I’m going to want to remember so I think I’ll take you on a walk through my school day.

Wake up–10:30 to this song

Walk to my convenience store down the street in my sweatpants to buy breakfast–banana milk and mixed nuts today.

Internet until 12:15 and leave for work.

12:30-2:50: class preparation

During daily teachers meeting, Director scolds everyone for not reporting to her and looks at me and says, “remember when we talked about that Mallory?”

I find out that book reports are due tonight, so I have 47 pieces of paper to correct the grammar, answers, and write individual comments on a separate piece of paper to staple to it with 4 different categories I have to grade and then enter them in the computer which I’ve finally figured out the Korean links to press yay!


luckily they’re pretty easy to grade

Director calls me into her office and asks that I write up mock examples for “Parent’s Day” cards. Different examples for each level. I’m both flattered that she’s giving me extra responsibility for the first time, and not happy that she is giving me extra responsibility.

First Class Compass 2:50-3:25 (6 year olds)

Lesson 19: “Th” sound

Harry is the most adorable thing who is missing three teeth and has braces on his front two says “Mallory Teacher looks cute” and gives me the biggest smile. “Aw, Harry looks cute today too.”

Dorothy 1 gets sensitive because I’m picking other kids to throw the sticky ball. I tell her she needs to put her hand up more and she translates that as “stand up” so she gets out of her chair and sings “up, down, up, up, down” and thrusting her hips inappropriately to this song:

I may or may not start to do it too, hoping that HQ isn’t watching CCTV and we have a mini dance party before forcing everyone to sit down. Later I sing it again but I say “wi are, wi wi are” because that’s how it is in my head and they go TEACHER SPEAKING KOREAN and I have to erase one of my “K” marks.

Ninas: (3:25-4:05)

Reading some story about seals that I didn’t read and am totally guessing the answers using context clues.

Sohee always leaves this class a couple minutes early out of frustration and leaves me notes on the flashcard folder to tell me why.


it’s gonna be a good 40 minutes

Mr. E is the power hungry child I know. The only way he will do his work is if he is in charge of the class. I try to run games like I do for every single other class and he won’t do it if it’s anyone’s idea but his.

He goes, “Teacher–all of my teachers ask me. My Korean teacher, my Japanese teacher, my Chinese teacher, all ask me what to do and you tell me what to do.”

Me: “I do ask you. I say ‘do you guys want to play dice reading or hot potato’ and you say you don’t want to do anything and will do the book as homework.”

Him: “well I want to do my own game.”

Me: Fine.

He then takes the marker and creates the most confusing game including a dice and the sticky ball and different ‘buttons’ and ‘bombs’ and point systems and whenever something doesn’t go his way he changes the rules to his benefit and purposefully makes the other team (me and Jully) lose.

I do however make him do some aegyo when he wants another turn and he does it.

gah okay you can throw again

And then I want another turn because it’s unfair and he asks me to do aegyo and so I do.

he laughs and says I can have another turn

Then he uses a vocabulary word “chat” and tells me to come to his house and chat with his mom. I ask him if he’ll make me chicken and rice and kimchi and he asks me if I prefer spicy or sweet chicken.

Telescope (4:10-4:50) (7 year olds)

Lesson 19 “Yy/Ii” sound (slice, sky, etc etc)

I draw a slice of cake on the board which looks more like a rainbow. I pick hands to give point values to different parts of the cake that range from 5 to infinity (In Mallory’s game you can have more than infinity)

Everyone does this loud groan when I eventually choose Jaden because he always does a “minus”. Usually around -10000 billion. Also not a real number, but whatever.

Lewis lands on -10000 billion every time and loses all of his Ks because he shouts “AISH” or “CHINCHA” to the point where it’s a class joke. And he’s not actually a bad kid so I think it’s a little funny too.

Emily says she is hot and wants the “aircon” but Sua yells that she is cold and it becomes a class debate so I make everyone close their eyes and vote. Turns out everyone is hot, including me, so go ahead Emily go to desk and ask to turn on the aircon.

Aiden randomly pokes his head in the door and I wave to him. I don’t know what he is doing here but I love him so it’s okay and then the TA brings him back to his class.

The winning team (chocolate slice team) gets three stars and the losing team (lucky win team) gets one star when my new student Star (yes this gets very confusing) throws the ball at my tiny candle flame on the cake. Chocolate slice teams erupts in joy. I decide however that the Lucky Win Team gets the two quiet stars so in the end everyone wins.

Ocean aka Hell Class (4:55-5:45) (8 year olds)

Some story about Saturdays that no one took the time to read in Korean beforehand and therefore don’t understand the questions.

Aiden runs around the classroom in circles making vroom noises pretending his eraser is a car.

Kevin shows me his flip phone and turns out the background is a picture of me made into a “zombie filter” and I don’t whether to be flattered, mad, or extremely creeped out.

During hot potato reading someone whips the ball and it hits Sensitive Jenny in the chest and she starts crying actual tears. Her twin, Judy, who is identical and they even dress the same and always say they have the same feeling, starts crying too and I’m kneeling between them stroking both their heads as Eric (both my Erics are trouble) pushes Alisa’s book off the table and Sandy falls over in her chair which she was destined to do because that’s what happens when you lean back in it.

Emily throws a glue stick at Kevin when he says something crude. Yes this is a regular occurrence now.

David and Alisa answer the questions and I write them out in full sentences on the board so the rest of the class can copy it down word for word, even questions like, “What do YOU like to do on Saturday?” so everyone in the class likes to do what David likes to do on Saturday.

Yep just a regular day in my Hell Class.

Navigation 5:55-6:45 (10-11 year olds)

What the hell is a gerund should have looked that up instead of the book reports.

Doesn’t matter there’s a nice chart that explains it in their book. Oh -ing okay I know what that is.

Actually it really doesn’t matter because Secret is telling some story extremely loudly to Leesen and the only word I’m catching is “boyfriend” while Sunny and Eileen have their heads together actually filling in the blanks. Secret and Leesen just copy it later.

Meanwhile the boys in the back are literally making paper airplanes and throwing them around the room. I thought that only happened in cartoons. One of them gets caught in Ferb’s hair as I walk by which isn’t funny but in a much larger sense it is and I have to put my hand over my mouth so they don’t see me laughing.

Steven throws a chestnut at the wall and it cracks in half.

Samuel writes some smart-a answers in perfect English so what can you do.

But somehow everything gets done. Almost.

Pinta 6:50-7:35 (9 year olds)

Mia Hamm’s autobiography.

My six lovely ladies who always do their homework and answer the book questions and love to read. If Langcon needed a class to show their textbook off it would be this class because they understand everything. And yes we really are reading the children’s version of Mia Hamm’s autobiography.

Wonwoo tells me I look pretty today and I tell her she looks pretty too and she says “I know.”

Wrap Up 7:35-8:30—->

We don’t get paid over time but you’re there until you’re done. I finish my book reports, my daily report, send individual text messages to students and do the Nina’s term test comments.

It’s 8:35 and I’m going to actually get out of here only a little bit late when I remember the mock Parent’s Day cards and spend the next 15 minutes making something Hallmark-ey for kids to copy as if they actually liked their parents.

Eventually I give my daily report to Director, report to her about the Sensitive Jenny incident because that’s apparently what I’m supposed to do, and tell her I’ll send the Parent’s Day mock cards on Monday in a memo.


Get takeout bulgogi bokkumbop and go home and eat it on my little table. Internet for the next three hours and enjoy time in my little room where no one expects anything of me and I can just exist.

except my bed is half this size

And that my friends, was a Friday in the life of Mallory. I know it sounds crazy, and when I write it down like that it sounds especially crazy, but honestly I like it. I really do. The good parts are good and the bad parts are bad and there are good parts are bad parts every day. I used to come home completely drained and just curl up in my bed and fall asleep.

Now, I’m not energized by any means, but I’m also not shredded by it. I feel like I’m gaining more HP as the days go on which is nice because I really needed some.

I hope you enjoyed my day as much as I did.


2 responses to “of a day in the life

  1. Pingback: my life is a makjang | That One Time in Seoul·

  2. Pingback: how work is going | That One Time in Seoul·

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