Due to our university’s calendar shift, June and July became our vacation. Most of June I was just waiting for one particular message. It arrived at the third week of June, that I was accepted on the job that I applied for and I was to come back last week of June to start. And so I got the books I needed provided by the management for my job and reviewed them all so I can make a good first impression to my students on the first day of job. It was a tutorial job for Koreans, mostly university students from Silla University, Gumi University, and Halla University, with a few exceptions of regular students who came to study to prepare for a job abroad.
It was the first legit, out-of-school job I had so I was really excited to earn money, to face the real world, meet new people, and nervous as to how I would start my classes. And I was living alone in the city, eating alone, sleeping alone in my rented boarding house, and becoming more independent. It was indeed exciting! So I reviewed my books and prepared my introductory speech the night before my big day. And more importantly, I researched on the Korean culture so I can fit in and be appropriate at most times. So gays are a big taboo in Korea, I learned. I heard a nervous chuckle in my head. It was a challenge I’m willing to take, see how I can able to survive it. Well, let’s get this started with!
The first day turned out fine. I met my students and we exchanged facts about ourselves – our hobbies, our major, etc. I must say I had cute students, in the Filipino standards.
The job was so exhausting. I had to wake up at six every morning and teach from eight to six in the evening. So I had to bring coffee in class.
It was only very later when I asked them if they know what I am, gender-wise. Or in some cases, when they asked me if I had a girlfriend. So I burst out laughing and had to explain. They had mixed reactions. Some would be struck with the truth that I am homosexual and I find it very amusing. Oh, how the Filipinos and Koreans differ in this aspect of culture.
Luckily, I never had a hard time coming out to my students. As a matter of fact, I had this one memorable student, her English name is Belle, and we would talk about boys during our tutor time. Well, not during the entire time. Let’s say, half of the time we study and the other half we’d chat about her boyfriend and my crushes. Hahaha!
I also had this one group class where my students were really fun. They’d make fun of their classmates during class discussions when someone from the class mispronounces a word. I’d let them analyze poetry, music videos, and movies and I’d see how they were struggling to find justifiable explanations. It was satisfying in my part to play the teacher for some time when my entire university time is centered to being the student. And for some time, I’m certain they were enjoying the class. Who wouldn’t? I’m such a cool teacher.
Another funny thing about this experience is that I asked my students to teach me Korean. And so I learned quite a number of words and phrases. Even the bad words. Hahaha! Some of my students would cringe hearing these words, while some would laugh saying I sound cute speaking their curse words. At some point, I had this one student who taught me Korean phrases and tell me it means this and that but turned out they mean something else. So when I asked my other students what these phrases mean, they’d laugh hard because these phrases are either Korean jokes or teenage lingo.
Moreover, I earned more friends. I like these friends I met there because we easily click. They’re genuine and fun at the same time. We dine together on pay days. There aren’t a lot of negativity when they’re around. It’s a good sign. 🙂
I’ve only stayed in my job for more than a month because I had to go back to school by August so I had to leave my fun job. But I can say I missed my students. So if ever one of my students read this, I hope they learned something from me.