OMG, I’m in South Korea!
There are still times when I wake up and think “Oh yeah, I’m in South Korea.” Mostly, I have recovered from that and wake up ready for my day. Well, when I say wake up I mean snooze forever and then rush to get ready and out the door on time.
The school here is a bit different than what I’m used to. There are a total of six classes. Two for each grad: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. 1st would be equivalent to our 7th, 2nd is our 8th, and 3rd is out 9th. I have heard that there is only going to be 1st grade class next semester. So, there will only be about 25 7th graders at the school. I currently teach about 140 students.
The students stay in their one classroom all day (except for PE) and the teachers go to their rooms. All the teachers are in one office, and in between classes students come in and out as they please. That was a bit different for me, but it really isn’t that bad. There are pros and cons to this set-up. Pros: there is always a teacher if a student needs help; you always know where a teacher is going to be; teachers aren’t secluded to their room all day; you don’t have to decorate a room; and it is nice to be around other teachers 🙂 Cons: there isn’t always a teacher around the students; students are in the same room all day, every day; sometimes I wish I had a room to personalize/decorate.
There IS and English room here, but the teacher before me didn’t really utilize it (or go in there at all). My co-teacher and I are working on getting books and other games to have in there for the kids to play occasionally when we don’t feel like planning anything. It is a bit dirty, so we need to work on that. I suggested we get Captain Underpants books and I’m pretty excited for those to come in.
My co-teacher is probably one of the nicest people on the planet. I have never taught before and she is so patient with me. She gives me advice when I ask for it and she is really good at constructive criticism. My other coworkers are wonderful too! They try and talk to me in English, and since I’m trying to learn Korean they help me out a lot. They are all very helpful and always try to include me in conversations or outings!
I love my students! (Most of them…) There are a few trouble makers, but in general they are all good kids. I do have to keep reminding myself that they are teenagers. I can’t forget that. Some of the students will between classes and talk to me, while some come and talk to me for 1-2 minutes for candy. When they see me outside of school, they will always say “hi,” or “hello, teacher!” I’ve noticed that even the kids who aren’t so good at English have been trying more at the work I give them since I have been here. I don’t really know how much they tried before, but they seem to be trying more over the past month since I have first gotten here. Not sure if that is because of me or if it is because they kind of just got used to me now and I’m not as much of a distraction.
My co-teacher has said that the kids like my lessons. I sort of started out by following her previous lesson plans, but they just didn’t fit my style. I think I have a lot more activities and games for them to practice their English with, as opposed to reading and speaking the textbook again and again. I am currently teaching the 1st graders “what a pity!” I don’t think I have ever said that in an actual conversation unless I was trying to be an ass. But that is what they are tested on and this is what they need to learn, so I’ll do it. I’m just trying to make it as entertaining as possible.
This whole teaching thing is CRAZY new to me, but I like it so far. When students come and talk to me just to tell me a story or if they write something nice about me on an assignment, I just feel so happy! I had a student try really hard on this newspaper article I has having them do, and he did a great job! I told him I was proud of him and the next day he says to me, “teacher, remember you say you are proud of me? I very touched. Than you.” He talks to me a little more each day as well as many other students! I’m here to encourage them to speak in English and I feel like I am doing that. My classes may be crazy at times and I may want to lock some students in a closet, but at the end of the day it’s about them speaking English. Each day I have more students come and talk to me and that is what this is all about.
I’m not even a good teacher yet, but I am starting to love this job. Hopefully I will continue to grow as a teacher and things will only continue to get better!