Ah, Wednesday.... one of my least favorite days of the week. Thankfully, today was not a bad Wednesday!
On the way to work today, it was perfectly sunny and temperatures were in the high 70s. By the time I got to work, I was a little hot, simply from walking a mile in the sun. But, it was the kind of weather that you can't help but smile at. I enjoy walking to work now that I can go alone. I know the way, and most of the teachers go in at various times (1230, 1245, 1, etc),s so we walk alone. It's a peaceful time. I get to listen to my music and think about whatever I want. I don't have to make conversation with anyone, I can just be with myself. I like it.
An aside: Koreans don't seem to wear sunglasses. Today was bright and sunshiny, but I was the only person wearing sunglasses! Maybe that contributes to the stares I get... Maybe.
When I got to work, I felt in control. I worked on my daily lesson plan, which I really enjoy doing! I have to turn them in to Jackie Teacher every day for 2 months, but chances are good that I will continue to do them for myself. (Each class has it's own lesson plans for the month, but doing a full day of plans with each class is helpful!) I even found the quizzes for 2 of my classes by myself and made the copies solo. I felt awesome!!! I finished up report cards, and had about 15 minutes to spare before class started.
My first class is my worst. I'm kind of glad of this, because once it's over, its mostly downhill after that. The class is made up of mostly 6-year-olds whose English skills are basic and have the attention span of a gnat. To top things off, there are 10 kids in the class... 3 are trouble makers, 3 are more advanced than the rest, and 4 just zone out for the whole class period (except to occasionally look up and copy the board into their workbooks). It's frustrating and wearing on my nerves... I can't wait for February when I can get rid of most of these kids. (Classes rearrange and change in February) The only kid I love is Tommy, whom I previously described. Bright eyed, eager to please the teacher, and raises his hand for every question. I love him!
My second class is also trying, but slightly less. This is mostly due to the fact that there are only 5 students, instead of 10. However, these kids are mostly all troublemakers. Two of them try and obviously enjoy class. But even they succumb to the incessant chattering of the others, chiming in and laughing at the most inopportune times.
Third period is one of my better classes. They are helpful when I am confused, receptive to my comments, responsive to my questions, and are willing to work. Granted, they are still young and therefore do get sidetracked easily. But I can wrangle them back in fairly easily.
Fourth period is my infamous 2SAP class: 4 (now 3) little girls who laugh at anything and everything, comment on everything, and generally suck any remaining energy from my reserves. One of the girls is taking a month vacation (I'm so jealous), so we have 3 now. One of those girls is significantly behind the others, but tries very hard so it's difficult to be too frustrated at her. Today, I had Jackie Teacher sit in on my class with them, and I was very intimidated. Korean culture leans heavily to the "constructive criticism" rather than "positive reinforcement" tactic with employees. Therefore, even when I do a great job, Jackie Teacher usually has a suggestion for me. Today, I was determined not to give her anything to say. She came in as we were reading the book, and I made sure we finished on time. When we were done, rather than moving on immediately, I asked the students some comprehension questions. To my delight, Rachel answered correctly on a question that was fairly difficult (predicting future events based on things that happened in the story we read). While she couldn't articulate her ideas with much finesse, she made her point and I reiterated it in the best grammar I could. Jackie Teacher seemed pleased, so we moved on to the next section. The girls did fairly well; Jackie Teacher only interjected when she felt like they were not understanding or the girls were not responding to my questions or prompts (come on, girls! you're killin' me here!!!) Overall, Jackie Teacher gave me a smile when she left the room, and I sighed in relief.
My next class was another large one, but these kids were fairly better behaved. They had a vocabulary quiz, after which they had a practice PEL Test. PEL Tests are the Korean education system's attempts at English Language Standardized Testing. 3 days out of the month, the kids do practice exams. Today was one of those days, so for 40 minutes of my hour long class, I got to sit down. This is a rare treat, and I enjoyed it immensely. The kids, unfortunately, suffered through 40 minutes of an hour long class listening to boring recordings and circling answers in a workbook. Poor kids, lucky teacher.
My last class was repeated in much the same manner, except these kids are at a higher level, so the questions were not repeated multiple times on the recordings, and therefore the test went by in 20 minutes rather than 40. So, I had 20 minutes to kill. I let them work on Homework (illegal), talk about their weekend plans (generally unacceptable), and pack up early (totally illegal). Thankfully, Jackie Teacher did not pop-in on this class or I would have been floundering.
After classes were over, I finished up some report cards I had missed in the morning, and made my lesson plan for the next day. Tomorrow, Sean, Jamie & I are going to Immigration to apply for our Alien Resident Cards, so we have to be at work at 12:30. Lucky us! I got the lesson plan done, which took care of one thing I would otherwise need to do tomorrow. Unfortunately, I was mentally checked out after that, so I did not prepare anything else for tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some prep time before classes...
I talked to Michelle Teacher, my Korean BFF, for 20 minutes before I left. We made plans for the weekend - Sunday, we are meeting at her church for the English service, then getting lunch together. Her husband will be there also. When we left work, I waited with her until her husband got there to pick her up. She offered me a ride home, and while I don't mind walking much, I jumped at the offer. The other foreign teachers were still at work, so I would be alone anyway. Her husband picked us up a few minutes later and took me by my apartment. He was very nice!
I am very excited to spend Sunday with them! I also want to make plans with Tab for Friday night/Saturday, so I have something to look forward to the next 2 days. I think we might go to a Korean spa, or maybe a famous cafe. Who knows! (You will, when I blog about it after it happens!)
Two more days... two more days... WEEKEND!!!!