Without much ado, Jordan and I jumped right into teaching on Monday, a few days ago. Talk about a quick turn around. But we were excited and wanted to see what the kids are like.
Monday around 1pm the middle schoolers arrive and we begin a short and individual interview with each student to assess their English levels. That took about almost two period of four.
Jordan had a classroom of five students and I had the classroom next door, with also five students. We’re told that’s an unusually small group. I admit, I was a little nervous on my first day. I felt under-prepared. But as I entered the room I smiled brightly and said, “Hello!”
“Hello, teacher,” they all answered.
And we went from there, reviewing rules and then going on to introductions. My students were pretty quiet the first day, which was to be expected. They were also really thrown off by my calling on them in class. Typically in Asian classrooms (especially Chinese) the teacher lectures, and the only reason to call upon a student in class is to discipline them. Once they learned that verbal participation was required and evenly distributed, they acquiesced and began speaking.
By the second day, I couldn’t shut them up. One of the rules in the classroom is no Korean, only English, but they violated that frequently. I had to get onto them, but overall they were pretty obedient. The Korean education system expected perfect obedience from students. Between going through worksheets and practicing conversations in simulations rooms, the kids had a good time. I quickly got the hang of my classroom and we even made a few jokes in English that the students understood.
Almost every day at work, before classes, at 12:30 we have a meeting with Richard, our boss. He lets us know housekeeping odds and ends, and then we print anything we need and run off the class.
After the students leave, at 4:30, we have paperwork and preparation time until 6 pm. That’s when I’ve done most of my reports, found extra classroom activities, and make notes in my calendar. After dinner we return to work, at 7pm, and that’s when, if everything is done, I get to do anything I want. I’m really going to have to come up with some hobbies.
I’m going to try to learn a little Korean, will probably blog, and write in my free time. As soon as I get one of those VPN things to let Pandora play on my computer. I’m hopeless with technology, so it’s good that Jordan can help me out.
In other news, this week we officially passed our health exams (easy) and were admitted into Korea as a Legal Alien (we have an E-2 visa). So that’s exciting–I’m an alien now. We also got our bank accounts set up, and we will get our first paycheck in a couple weeks. Our flight reimbursement came through today (just a week and a half after arriving–that’s much faster than hagwons will give it to you). I can’t tell you how badly I want both of those things!
We’re both content and pleased with our jobs thus far, and we’re buying odds and ends (like a shower curtain and rod) to make our apartment more livable. Soon I’ll buy baking trays and a toaster oven. All in all, this has been a pretty good week.