A Half Expected Guest - Day Three Online

Top right: the speaker in question.

An announcement came through the apartment speakers this morning. I suppose I should explain at this point that in South Korea, most apartment buildings broadcast announcements through speakers installed in each home. I've heard that this can get rather annoying with random intrusions happening perhaps once a day, or more. Thankfully, our building management is sparing with these and I usually know when to expect them because the contents have already been advertised in the elevator and by email.

This time, the management needed to let us know when they would start sending a lady with sanitation equipment to spray this on drains around the houses. It could have been any time between 9:20 am - 3:00 pm. But I knew it would be right in the middle of my morning classes. 

Just around 9:10 am, as I double checked the files and computer camera position, right on cue: May I have your attention ..... (Except that it played in Korean and then repeated in English.)

When the sanitation lady arrives on our floor, she has to ring the doorbell for us to open the door, or else she uses the master key to enter and do her work. Not wanting any interruption to my class, I opened the door and left it ajar, with the door to the room I was teaching in open as well. 

You'd be correct in thinking that this was not enough to avoid a nice Korean lady appearing in our creative writing class this morning. Of course, the only door she wished to use to access the veranda drains was the one in the room where I was teaching.

Thankfully, students were in the middle of group projects, creating a story inspired by a picture of a baby running away. We'd already practised some sensory writing by taking time to draft ideas of how to describe the sights, sounds, smells, touch and taste of sweets/candies. I asked students to consider the senses to add to their narrative of the baby in the picture. There was some nice description of action and emotions, with many students already attempting some 'showing, not telling'.

To round off the class, I read The Wish by Roald Dahl out loud to the class and we discussed how the author makes the simple descriptions of a carpet come alive and adds tension, risk and purpose for the narration. Students had just a little time to consider how they could add more to their baby stories with all these skills in mind. We're planning to continue this task a little more later and I'm excited to see how they will develop their basic story concepts into engaging prose.

Perhaps if our guest had arrived earlier and interrupted before I showed the baby picture, I could have used that moment as their prompt. We need to remember and be open to using these small moments that could add interest and reveal the emotions and desires of our characters in subtle ways.