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I get paid to sit by the pool

August 22, 2009

Literally, I can SIT by the pool. We’re not required to even get in the water. Pretty sweet deal… although one of the day camp teachers came over and asked why I wasn’t playing with kids in the water. She wanted a nice photo-op of the token white female teacher interacting with her students.

I obliged.

It’s actually more exhausting than it looks — pity party! — spending five hours tossing kids in the water, having balls flung at your head and roasting in the sun. Still, there are plenty of worse ways to spend a workday.

(And in my defense, I do spend most of the time playing in the water but even teachers need a break now and then. So stop throwing balls at my face. Um, that’s what she said?)

Notice that a lot of the kids are wearing swim caps. My Korean co-workers were surprised when I said that only racers wear swim caps in the US. Here in Korea, it’s required at most public pools for everyone to wear a cap over their hair to keep the pool clean. Even big water parks like Caribbean Bay make caps mandatory.

The kids get so jazzed being able to interact with their teachers in the water. Suddenly in the pool, we’re all equals. They’re not afraid to jump on your back, cling to every extremity and lob balls at your head, ignoring the “No headshot!” rule.
Yesterday we got a pretty good game of water volleyball going. It’s a lot more fun to organize a group game than just randomly bob around the pool.

One of the funniest things about swimming class is the mini boot camp the kids undergo before being allowed in the water. It’s almost ridiculously intense considering they’re facing three feet of water. And then it’s time for… aqua aerobics: “YMCA,” “Hey Mickey” and “Cha Cha Slide” yield some pretty fantastic dance moves.

Our lifeguards crack me up, too. Some of them have dark tans from spending every single day poolside. Others wear protective sun sleeves, jackets, hats, long pants, etc. to guard against the sun’s rays. White skin is very in here. Students and teachers alike complain about their freckles, seeing them as ugly imperfections. I tried to explain that when I was a kid, I always wanted to have freckles, but that argument just got some strange looks.

Swimming class is canceled tomorrow (H1N1 fears) and then Monday is the last day before the pool closes for the year. It’s amazing that summer is already almost over and that next week is the last week of August. Time truly does fly by…

What’s the biggest perk at your job?
One Comment leave one →
  1. Shari permalink
    August 22, 2009 2:54 pm

    Aww, what a fun day! It's so interesting to see the different dynamic between being with the kids in the pool versus the classroom … it's definitely a completely different experience! Thank you for always sharing these experiences with us. It's fascinating to read about the differences in cultures and to hear about everything you're doing! 🙂

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