So it’s been a few weeks since my last post and I wanted to update you. As you can see, I’m still alive! The last few weeks have been busy but I’m still enjoying my time here in South Korea.
I believe I shared with you all that I was in a 4-week training program (TESOL) to help prepare us for teaching foreign language speakers English. I completed the program in August 25 after passing 3 mock teaching lessons. We had a complete graduation ceremony that day and even received certificates in real diploma folders.
Later that same day, we met with what’s called the “Head Teacher” of our respective schools. As you know, I was assigned to two schools so I met with two teachers that day. A head teacher is typically the liaison you work with in your school and at times teach with. Both of my head teachers speak pretty good English, although at times there are some words they don’t know.
That brings us to the current week of August 28! August 28 marked my first official day of class. I teach at my main school, Seonjong Elementary, on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I go out to Cheonan Upsong Elementary on Tuesdays only. In both schools I only teach 3-6 grade. In Korea, they begin English lessons in 3rd grade unless their parents pay for them to go to private academy early on. (Academies can cost around $1500 per month!)
So what was day one like??? Well, I took the bus to my school which has it’s own labled city bus stop. There are 6 periods in each day and school starts at 8:40am with first period beginning at 9am. Each period is 40 minutes. On Mondays, I am with the 3rd graders only and for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th period only. So I have a LOT of down time on Monday especially since we are required to be at our desk until 4:40pm.
During my classes that day, I had three different sets of students. Since it’s the first week I simply did an “All About Me” presentation so that the students could learn more about me. They were so excited from the moment I walked in. These kids will make you feel like you are Beyonce. Everytime they see me in passing they giggle and say HELLOOOO. I can’t tell you the amount of times I had to say hello in one day.
I did the same presentation for all classes (and will do it 1000 more times this week. LOL)
Now for day 2! This school is out in the countryside of our city. So I had to take a subway then a taxi to get to it. Thankfully, we are paid extra if we have multiple schools to help cover our transportation costs.
This school is A LOT smaller than my main school. There is only one class per grade with no more than 13 students in a grade. Therefore, I will see all of the 3rd – 6th grade students in the school on Tuesday when I’m there.
My day started with teaching 3rd grade for 2 periods, so 80 minutes. Of course, my “All About Me” presetation wasn’t THAT long so I actually taught my first full English lesson. It went VERY well. The kids seemed to pick up on the key words and phrases and they enjoyed the game we played as well.
After that, I had 5th grade for 2 periods, 4th grade for one, and then I didn’t see my 6th graders because they had a test. So just like Monday, I had a lot of down time until 4:40 pm.
Now for the question you all want to ask (if you could): Did I eat the lunch??? Yes! As a matter of fact I did! Korean school lunches are pretty good. They are prepared daily by the cooks and everyone eats the same meal. Each meal typically has: soup, kimchi, rice, a meat, and veggie. This way, kids don’t get a choice and it’s a guaranteed balanced meal. Drinks are not served with lunch either. Students can drink warm barley tea AFTER they are done. Juice is not a big thing here either. (So I expect to lose a few pounds over time) A really cool thing, is that you can also get seconds and students must show their teacher their tray before they are excused to leave to ensure they eat. See some pictures of my lunches from Day 1 and 2 below!
All in all, my first few days have gone well. The kids are really cute, they say hello to me 5 million times, and all of the Korean teachers say WHOOOOA when they find out I’m really a lawyer since that’s a well respected profession here. I hope you enjoyed this update.