I can’t wait until I can post these as I write them. But, I know my mom and others want to know everything, and I’m happy to oblige. Writing as things happen definitely lets me remember more. And since I want to turn this into a book for myself after the year, I am happy to record everything.
It’s the end of Day 1. Thankfully I started work on a Friday, which means that I got out an hour early (8pm), not to mention I get 2 days off immediately following my first day. Sean and I went out to “explore” the neighborhood a little in the morning. We found a coffee shop and got wifi for about 15 minutes. The other afternoon teachers met up with us to take us to work around 12:30pm. We stopped at Paris Baguette and I got a bagel. I was a bit nervous to go until 8pm with only a bagel, but oh well. We got to school right on time (1pm), but classes don’t start until 2:50.
|My school! We are on the 4th Floor|
A few basic things about the school and the style of teaching. For me, I have 4 classes that are 40 min each, (with a 10 minute break between every other one) followed by 2 classes that are 1 hour each, also separated by a break. After my last class ends at 8pm, I have 1 hour of time to prepare for the following day or work on report cards. The curriculum is basically set, the teacher just administers class. I’m happy about this and not having to make up my own material. Another thing is that teachers change classrooms, while students stay in the same room (at least for a few classes at a time, if not all). I have the same classes M-W-F, and a different set T-Th. They are all different, no two the same level or students. Each group of students has many levels depending on ability. The groups are “New Hi, Kids” “Reach Out” “Step High” “Leap High” “SAP” and one other that I forgot the name. Those are basically the order they go as far as age/ability. Within those groups, there are levels 1-6. Each level has a certain amount of units. Each unit takes 1 month (more or less). I started on Day 10 (out of 12) of the unit with most of the classes, so by the time we start the next unit, I will be their real teacher. Don’t worry if you are completely confused by the organization of students with these groups - I am still confused. The foreign teachers (including myself) are pretty much hired to do a lot of speaking with the kids. There is a Korean teacher who comes in before/after me in a class to teach Grammar, Phonics, etc.
Today, I followed Maggie Teacher around her classes and she introduced me. I will be taking over her classes so I got to meet my students. The first class is pretty young, they are New Hi, Kids! They are level 2 I think. There were 7 in class today, but we were missing 1, so 8 total. They were such cuties! There was 1 that was a little snot; I will be having a few stern chats with the lad, to be sure. He inspires rebellion in the other boys, but generally the class is pretty good. They do a LOT of speaking with me! The point is for them to be constantly talking. If I am checking papers, they should be reading something out of the book. That kind of thing.
Second class, I honestly don’t remember much of. They were slightly older than the first class and did the same sort of lessons. We had a 10 minute break, then 3rd class was a slightly higher age group, but they were doing Presentations, so instead of shadowing that, Sean, Jamie, and I all had a meeting with Kellie Teacher who gave us the lay of the land. We also talked to the Director, Mr. Choi, for about 2 minutes. He is very nice, but doesn’t speak much English (ironic, being the head of an English Language School).
Kellie Teacher is the most senior foreign teacher, but leaving in a week. She is in charge of helping us settle in, but she does Kindergarten, so doesn’t help as much with Sean and I. She basically went over the rules which went something like this “Don’t wear tops that show your boobs or you’ll be looked at like a slut. Don’t show your shoulders or you’ll be looked at like a slut. Don’t talk about your drunken escapades or you’ll be looked at like a slut. Don’t mention if you smoke or you’ll be looked at like a slut.” I kid you not. She was actually very funny in presenting this information, even doing an impression of an old Korean woman tsk-ing at us on the street. Another cool thing she told us is that there is NOT a “no touch” policy with the kids like there would be in the states. We can hug them, muss their hair, pat their shoulders, even give a little kiss on the head. I think this is more important for the Kindergarten teachers, as they are with their kids for much longer periods of time, and become attached.
She also let us know that we will be getting our health checks on Tuesday afternoon, and to eat beforehand since they do take quite a bit of blood. The health check take around a week to process, after which we can apply for the Alien Resident Card. Those take another month to get in, after which we can set up our bank accounts. This being said, our first pay is Sept 14, but it will only be for this week and in cash, since it’s a month in hand. Our first proper paychecks will be Oct 14th and should go to our new Korean bank accounts we will hopefully have set up by then.
The rest of the classes for the day were basically the same, with each class having slightly higher ability and age. There is one class that we see every day; 4 girls in an intensive immersion-based program. They are the most advanced and talkative: proof that immersion is the best way to learn a language. They are cute as buttons but I think they will be a trick to handle since they are so chatty.
In each class, I felt like there were 38 different nuances to learn about that class (ie: SAP2, the immersion class, have Book Club every Friday where they go to the library to get a new book. Another class, I forget which, has vocab quizzes every day. Etc). By 5th block I was exhausted and my brain was slowly shutting down from too much information (much the same I’m sure yours is right now reading all this).
By the end of the day, all I could remember is my name is now Chelsea Teacher, and Monday I have to get to work at noon rather than 1pm since we got an hour off Friday afternoon.
Quickly, to wrap up, we got a taxi home since it was then pouring, and had dinner around the corner at another Korean restaurant. It was family-style cook-on-the-table chicken in a spicy sauce with rice noodles, sweet potato, cabbage, and sesame leaves. I actually enjoyed the sauce and noodles, and the bites of chicken without tons of fat. I ate more than last night, so we’re making progress... Tomorrow, my mission is to get some rain boots and a rain jacket. I feel like there is so much more to tell, but I’m sure I’ll fit it in next time. Now, I’m exhausted and ready for bed...
|Our dinner being cooked: chicken with spicy sauce and rice noodles.|