My School Festival, Or, Misery Shared

rhymes with schmainschmeck

I really like my students. I do. And I know that this whole School Festival thing is a really big deal – like a massive talent show that everyone has been working on for weeks. So I asked Coteach if I could, you know, drop in and see some of it. For the kids.

“You can watch on the TV in your classroom! Auditorium will be full!”

Well let me tell you, it’s been quite an adventure, watching this festival. And luckily, I’m so committed to the authenticity of my Korean experience that I give you below a full play-by-play, real-time experience thru the eyes of a cranky English teacher. A few gems to whet your appetite:

  • “Fewer drunks here, but just as much mayhem.”
  • “40 boy cheerleaders and a smoke machine”
  • “Very realistic AK-47s in those kids’ hands.”
  • “I am filled with the Christmas spirit, and that blueberry muffin I just ate.”

If you like what you see, read on for the complete minutes of Erin’s School Spirit Extravaganza. It’s Sarcastic!

10:05: Can’t ignore the atrocious Korean synth music pouring from the intercom any longer; waving these 2 ambiguous remote controls at the source isn’t doing any good. Time to turn on the TV. Oh good, pictures of wildflowers.

10:06: FUCKING SAXOPHONE MUSIC – am I in hell? It hasn’t even started yet…. Expectations…thou art shat upon.

10:09: The Korean national anthem – stirring. And mercifully brief. Oh wait, that wasn’t the anthem. This is. I thought that sounded an awful lot like Stravinsky. Wait. Is THIS the anthem? How many patriotic instrumental musical pieces does it take to start a school fest?

10:12: THE PRINCIPAL! His very presence adds credibility to this entire thing. So many rhinestones on his tie. How dare you try and Oscar music this man off the stage?! Fools!

10:22: Who knew my 5th graders could harmonize? Or dress like sailors?

10:27: Question: which is lamer – the square dance of America or the square dance of Korea? Hold on – CHICKEN DANCE! Takes me back to all those Polish weddings in Omaha. Fewer drunks here, but just as much mayhem.

10:37: 40 boy cheerleaders and a smoke machine. God, in some ways Korea allows a lot more gender fluidity than the States. CHORUS LINE KICK. This is probably the best thing I’m going to see in the next month.

10:41: Girls’ turn. Exposed midriffs? Costume design by Humbert Humbert. Think I’ve been living in Korea too long; my modesty meter just went off. Even worse: I have a modesty meter now.

10:49: I can’t believe how pleasant this recorder music is. Ha – I think that’s Short Shorts, my volleyball friend, conducting.

10:53: Short Shorts on guitar! We will now be best friends.

11:10: Ok, recorders the second time around, not so great. I would like to be more excited, but this is threatening to go on for an eternity. How many more hoursss?

11:15: We have a color guard?


11:24: Very realistic AK-47s in those kids’ hands.

11:26: That is a bottle of soju.

11:27: And a death. Human life cycle play, I guess. Thank you for that grim reminder of my mortality, 6th graders.

11:33: What the fuck? Why wasn’t I invited to sing with the teachers?! Wait, hold on, I don’t know any of those women. Moms? Goddamn, I could never be a parent here. Way too much involvement. I’m going to release my kids into the wild when they can walk. The Darwinian Method of Parenting. “I gave you the best genes I could! Survive!” No, come on, don’t sing another song. Dammit.

11:42: Back to the flowers. Does this mean it’s halftime?

11:48: We’re back on. My interest is flagging hard. Can’t turn it off because the intercom will continue to scream at me. Back to asking myself if I’m in hell…

11:55: I have to pee. Hopefully something extraordinary doesn’t happen in the next few minutes. (UPDATE: It didn’t.)

12:01: “Angels We Have Heard On High” on violins. I am filled with the Christmas spirit, and that blueberry muffin I just ate.

12:05: Someone catch that rogue toddler trying to get on the stage.

12:09: WHY AM I BEING DEAFENED SUDDENLY. HOLY SHIT. I would have brought my motherfucking earplugs if I had known this was going to be like front row at fucking Oz Fest.

12:17: Percussion instruments – not for children. Even the finger cymbals. And again with the recorders.

12:26: So, not going to be any lunch today, huh? Guess I’ll listen to this piano solo.

12:30: Aaaaaand that wasn’t a solo. A full on recital? These kids are talented, I’ll give them that. I have a little talent myself: whenever I hear Canon in D I start punching things uncontrollably.

12:35: I’m serious, this is not ok, Volume Control. I’m going to start bleeding from the ears. FUCKING CANON in D AGAIN!?? Pachelbel, it’s on.

12:39: Back to waving the remotes uselessly at the TV/Intercom. Nothing helps. Have I done something wrong? Did they keep me in my classroom to punish me this way?

12:41: Boy midriff exposure. Interesting. Also ABBA style bellbottoms.

12:43: Next dance, more bellbottoms. Purple lamme, this time with headbands. Aw shit the costumes are a onesie type deal. If this were on an adult, I would call them a hipster. On a child, I just call it abuse.

12:47: Know what’s awesome? Having 6 trillion decibels blown into your ears, followed by some Korean traditional drumming. I’m going to pass out.

12:56: I can’t tell if this is still happening or not….lots of talking…don’t want to get my hopes up…..Gah. It’s still happening. Mrph. A Von Trapp-esque family band.

1:01: I really wanted to get some work done today. Sigh. Oh wait! Magic Show!

1:07: A raffle? Why does no one tell me this stuff is going on? I want a box. Who gift wrapped this shit and what is it?? From the sheer volume of boxes, I’m guessing everyone gets a present. This number calling is considerably easier to tune out, however….

1:12:  The speaker and the TV just shorted out or turned themselves off. Sweet release! Bless you, faulty electronics.


One response to “My School Festival, Or, Misery Shared

  1. I enjoyed this post thiiiiiiiiiiis much.

    “Costume design by Humbert Humbert. ” A+ comment.

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