of assignments and substituting



“This is Headquarters.”


“Are you busy? Do you have a minute?”


“I have your first assignment”

I was standing in the SM Entertainment coffee shop waiting in line for my lemonade. Just another overpriced coffee shop but this time in the official SM store, with official Kai shaped cookies and official group water bottles with corresponding colored official lemonade.

We had stumbled on some kind of event—the room was filled with dozens of fangirls and they all had little baby exo dolls which are kind of creepy cute.


who are you and can you move I need a seat

There was a lady at one table literally sewing tiny doll clothes together, and a fan boy drawing beautifully accurate pictures.


and believe it or not–not even close to the creepiest picture I took that day

Silvia asked a foreign girl what was going on and she said she didn’t know.

But apparently she did because she also had an exo doll.

Once again, just us stumbling on things everyone seems to understand perfectly and we are just there like—-

I was ripped from my not-so-undercover fangirl life by a random phone number. I hate random phone numbers, but I took the jump and answered and had the above conversation. I’m not exaggerating or polishing that is the exact exchange.

I went into a corner behind a Baekhyun cardboard cut out to get away from the shrill preteen laughter and asked again—what?

How is Nowon?

It’s wonderful I love it.

Yeah…it’s a lot better than Jangan right?

You said it not me.

Yes, well, I have your first assignment.

The next day I was to report to Imae—one hour and 8 minutes away by subway. I was to be there for the week, possibly two, possibly a month…or more.

We had some midnight runners everyone. Twin girls at the campus informed their head teacher on Friday night that they had plane tickets to Vietnam the next morning at 8:30am…nice knowing you.

Now, I expected sub life to be this way. I knew I would get random calls expecting me to be somewhere the next day. What I didn’t expect was to be so far…why was I put in Nowon when it is 30 minutes from central Seoul…and I didn’t expect to be placed at another campus for more than a week. A month? Or two? That’s basically a term.

I was told my head teacher’s phone number and directions on how to get there.

“So do you understand?”


“Okay have a good week.”

I creeped out from behind Baekhyun and returned to the shrill Korean girl laughter. I got my green apple jolly rancher colored lemonade (and official water bottle) returned to my not-so-undercover fangirl life where I bought a folder and luggage tag that I didn’t need.

Yet I have no regrets.


Pop Quiz–which one is mine and which is Silvia’s?

Turns out, with the transfers and 10 minute walk to each station, the commute is about 2 hours one way. Yeah that’s far and not ideal, but it’s on a subway. And thanks to my Korean smartphone, I can just watch videos on the wifi the entire time. Which is what I’d be doing anyway, just in a coffee shop,  let’s be honest.

My coworkers are great. Everyone is nice. I’ve had approximately 30 second conversation with the Director—another woman in her early or late 30s it’s hard to tell.

I teach Langcon AND Avalon now. No one told me how to do Avalon so basically I was just handed the books and they been like, ‘okay teach this.’

Avalon is just a different curriculum but essentially the same age groups.

I mean, I speak English so the material isn’t hard, it’s just a matter of learning pacing and games and management all over again.

The most awkward part was walking into 12 new classes to “eh? huh? what?”

That’s right everyone—my name is Mallory Teacher.

What happened to xxx teacher?

She…got sick. For a long time. Forever.

Korean Teacher x said her grandpa died *choking motion*

Oh…that too…

why did you ask if you knew the answer

They are in the middle of phone speaking, which thankfully I wasn’t asked to resume even though there is a schedule. However I was handed some book reports to grade. So what am I? A permanent teacher? A substitute? Some weird permeate in between?

It’s like I had a two weeks respite to literally be paid to surf the internet and now I’m back to the grind. But this grind is still much less grind.This girl has two breaks every day. TWO BREAKS. That’s 90 minutes of rest in the middle of the day. And the kids, well, the kids are the same everywhere.

I already have some kids that I strongly dislike and I tell myself it’s okay—I’m just a substitute—this isn’t forever.

But I also have some fans who visited me in the office before the school day ended and I tell myself dang it—I wish I wasn’t just a substitute.

Regardless, that’s my not-so-undercover Mallory Bond life. Until the next assignment ~ ~


One response to “of assignments and substituting

  1. Pingback: Fall Term in Review | That One Time in Seoul·

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