Story Time #1: The Time I Embarrassed Myself In Front of a Student
In an effort to diversify my posts on here, today I come to you with a story.
This is the story of how I embarrassed myself in front of two students at the bus stop.
It was last Tuesday, Korean Independence Day, so I didn’t have to go into work that day. The day before when I was at the grocery store I was overcome by the very particular desire to make myself a proper American breakfast, bacon, eggs, toast, and all.
I cooked all that up, made some coffee, and enjoyed a very peaceful morning at home. But one can only stay at home so long on a day off from work, so at about 2:00 I packed up my laptop and study materials and decided to head to a café to get some work done.
When I walked outside I was greeting with absolutely pouring rain. That’s been pretty much par for the course these days, so I wasn’t exactly surprised. I popped open my $5.00 umbrella and walked out to brave the rain.
It’s only about a 3 minute walk from my house to the bus stop, but it’s all uphill. I was treading very carefully in my cheapo sandals and I was almost to the bus stop when I looked up and saw a familiar face.
It was one of my grade 2 boys, arguably my most lovely demographic at school and this kid in particular I knew. He’s sweet. I’d soon be thankful for that.
We chatted for a minute about how break is going and then said goodbye. And right as I turned to leave him and walk to the bus stop, somehow in that motion of turning I lost my footing and just ate it.
My left knee went crashing into the ground and in a matter of seconds I was sitting there on the sidewalk, in the rain, with my knee now bleeding, my umbrella caught in a chunk of my hair, and my 13-year-old student staring at me looking like he’d seen a ghost. Not one of my finer moments.
“Are you okay?!” He asked and made a move to help me stand up. But in my embarrassment, I just waved it off and said, “oh yea of course” and quickly hurried the rest of the way to bus stop.
It wasn’t until I sat down that I noticed the real damage. My knee was bleeding pretty bad and there were a bunch of little scratches around my ankle.
I sat there having a very intense internal battle as to whether I should just go to the café when the bus arrived because my student was still standing there and the shame of walking back past him seemed worse. Or should I just cut my losses and go home to clean myself up.
I was still undecided when yet another familiar face sat down next to me. It took him a second, but I suddenly hear, “Oh! Teacher!” I turned to see one of my other grade 2 boys. The student from earlier came and sat down next to him and I realized they were going somewhere together.
“Where are you going?” He asked me. And in that moment the internal battle was decided.
“Look at this.” I said pointing to me knee. “I just did this, so I think I’m going to go home.”
That elicited a little “Oooooo” and also my least favorite incorrectly taught English phrase in Korea, “that’s too bad.” Which never, never, doesn’t sound patronizing.
But they were sweet and asked me if I was okay, and before I could bear any more of my humiliation I left.
The next step was to stop into the convenience store and buy some ointment and Band-Aids. There’s one right on a corner by my house and I know all three of the people who work there. Two young guys and an older woman. I rounded that corner praying that the woman was working because the embarrassment of tripping in front of a student was already enough.
Luckily she was working and so I walked and told her in my very bad Korean, “I just did this, is there something here I can use?”
“Omo, omo, omo!” Was her response, and is also my favorite reaction in Korean.
She immediately started fussing over me asking if I was okay and showed me where the ointment and Band-Aids are. Once I’d bought those I headed back home to go clean the cut and also sooth my pride.
A week later I’m now sporting a pretty gnarly scab on my left knee but luckily all’s well that ends well. I just have to face those two students on Monday.
Thanks for reading!