log: final finals for now today

WORMDATE: L2-2.5: 718-43,484: 7-587

South Korea had over 1000 daily cases for the first time yesterday. This week we’ll be looking at whether or not we’re going to Level 3. It seems likely. The authorities are hesitant about raising the levels and are emphasizing that if more people co-operate with Level 2 and 2.5, it may not be necessary. That’s probably wishful thinking.

Overall, the government seems to be holding to its metrics regarding changing the levels. I have some mixed feelings about this strategy. It has been long argued that the government should show more flexibility and react stronger, faster. On the other hand, one hopes that these numbers weren’t just pulled out of a hat. So, while I would like to see some flexibility, I also think that if you do have a decent plan based on the best available understanding, you sometimes just have to stick to the plan. It’s frustrating, yeah. It’s not great. What is?

Suddenly changing the rules might show adaptability but it might also create a situation where everyone starts running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s important to avoid becoming too reactive. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re constantly reacting to the last thing that happened. A degree of stability is also important. And if the rules start getting bent one way, they often quickly start getting bent in others.

It’s just all a little stressful and high stakes. Giving a plan a chance to succeed means giving it a chance to fail. And failure kills.

At this point, I’m just like — the authorities and public here have done an excellent job. I might have my disagreements with this or that aspect of the thing and questions about others, but I do trust the Korean health authorities. They haven’t steered me wrong yet. Taking their advice seems to work out. It’s just a matter of taking it.

Pretty quiet weekend here, as you can likely imagine. I did have to make a trip out to grab nicotine. I really wanted to go to market but, although it’s pretty much outside and therefore well ventilated, it’s a still a big place with a lot of foot traffic. I just didn’t want to get one of those alerts that if you were there, now go here and get a test. Right now, I have enough tests in my life.

I also did my oral 한국어 final. Safe to say, it went pretty terribly. It was supposed to be a fifteen sentence memorized introduction. I doubt I ever have 15 sentences to say about myself in any language. Roman emperors had shorter introductions. It’s also just weird talking to a video image of yourself. I don’t like it. I don’t like it very much. I had about the first paragraph memorized but the deeper I got . . . It ended with me reading.

The written tests start at 5PM today. I have three. That’s the written final. After that, done.

Overall, I don’t know about this class. Being unable to go use what I’ve learned, I can’t really gauge how much I’ve learned. Or even, really, what I’ve learned. I assume that I’ve learned something but it’s just hard to tell. It’s a weird state. It feels like I have this strange mush in my head but no idea what it’s made of, how it works, or what I can use. It’s in there though.

Though I generally hope this blog is read with such a warning in mind at all time, I want to preface the rest of this with a strong What the Fuck Do I Know? warning.

But I wasn’t wild on how the class was conducted over ZOOM. Our lectures were, well, lectures. We were shown slides and given rules. That’s fine when it comes to taking a test but there was very little practice in speaking. I really think that more time should have been spent trying to say things to each other and trying to understand them. It just seems like the few times we did do that, I got so much more out of the class. Things stuck.

The rest of the time, I just dreaded those lectures. Felt like my time could be better spent doing almost anything else. They felt like going backwards. Constantly leaving more confused than I started. I think, probably, a good purpose of a language learning classroom is to create a safe space to experiment and make errors. I’m not sure that was done. In this case, just the idea of grades seems opposed to what a person needs so that they can learn.

I don’t want to be too hard on the whole thing. I feel like an important part of learning a language is learning it in the abstract. But so much of it really just isn’t. A lot of it is just having the confidence of trying to speak it, which is inevitably humiliating, the ability to dust yourself off and try again, and developing some capacity to think on your feet, and make yourself understood as quickly as possible. These things come from use.

Further I go in school, the more it seems like a machine to teach people how to do school. That’s probably not news to anyone. Now, I’m sure I learned something other than how to pass a test. It would just be nice to know what. I’m probably just a little frustrated.

I want to take my incompetence out for a spin!

I just have this feeling like, right now, more than anything, I need some sort of win. Like when I was able to formulate a question about coffee. Just something like that. Where I say or understand something I was not previously able to say or understand and have it said and understood. It doesn’t have to be big. But these tests ain’t doing it. On my short trip out, I was able to read and understand a new sign that wasn’t in Konglish, and standing in line at the nicotine shop, was able to get a good grip on how to buy the stuff. So that’s progress.

But what the fuck do I know?

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