There are only two options

Why is it so hard to get a yes or no answer to a yes or no question??? Ok, that’s not quite fair; he said yes.

Then made follow-up statments indicating that the answer is no.  And responded to a repeat of the initial yes/no with more statements longer than one word that did not directly answer the question: “Did you give the students the test questions before the test?”

This is important because the other English teacher did.  They studied and memorized good answers.  If his class didn’t get them, that would explain why they didn’t perform as well.  This only increases my grading angst, you understand.  I feel like I am perpetrating large-scale grade inflation; at the same time, I can’t grade a student based on what I think her answer would have been if I had asked her before she got help from her hagwon teacher or the fact that she will not be able to respond this creatively to many, if any, questions in the future.

The reason, BTW, that I ended up working out at the same time as the man with the creepy eyebrows yesterday, is that I stayed late at school to help sonsengnim edit an article about team teaching that has already been published in some Daegu ESL journal, that he was listed in the footnote as being a collaborator on.    He took all of my corrections on faith and changed the by-line to his own name.  I find this confusing on multiple levels.

I spent 100 straight minutes this morning interviewing students without the break between classes because there are more of them in first grade classes than second grade classes, but no more time.  I realize this is my fault.  I’m interested in their answers, which prolongs the conversation, and if she’s struggling, I try to find at least one question she can answer.  If she tells me even one thing, it’s more than a zero.

My favorite answer to, “How are you?” was “Keeping out of trouble.”  Unfortunately, that student’s actual ability is not comensurate with her random knowledge of English colloquialism.  A fair number of my students live in broken families.  I learned quickly to lead with “How many members are there in your family?” so that I wouldn’t ask for the occupations of absent fathers.  Or mothers.

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