Friday, February 10, 2012

Graduation Day~~~~!

     This morning I wanted to catch the 2nd bus after my normal one, but of course it didn't show and I had to use the 3rd. I got to school around 9:30ish :(  I hopped on the computer not sure of what to do. Then I was informed that the ceremony was at 10.

     Ooooh so that's why all those people were at the gate. We went into the gym early and some parents/guardians were already there. It was only 30min long but I enjoyed seeing it. I took some pics and videos for the sake of celebration, but I only taught for one full month so I personally didn't feel connected to the kids...well I have made a small connection to the 1st yrs that took my camp. They seem used to me and tolerant of my intrusion in their lives.
We went to a dinner afterwards to celebrate. Maybe it's because I'm in the country but the main dishes were raw seafood. I can't eat much of it though. It's not nasty but I am not used to that texture.

     After we headed back to school. Possibly to finish the last hour of our 8hr shift -_-  but then they said I could go early. I went shopping for a few things, relaxed at home and then headed to my dance hagwon. I end up getting private lessons at one because he only does day classes. Either way it was cool. It's social dance.

     He wants to learn English too, but his son is an English teacher lol He should have studied with him :p

Lots of fooooood!
Graduation Dinner

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Elementary One Week (Version 3)

     Today I spent 4hrs at elementary 2 and taught the 3rd and 4th graders...I think I just realized that I will teach 3rd-9th grade! Luckily over break I made lesson plans for 7th-9th. I finally get to look over the 5th and 6th books so I'm going to plan activities for half of their year too.

     These classes weren't too bad so I'm still thinking of how I want to teach them. The principal wanted me to do an open class but the middle is going to Jeju Mon-Wednesday and I told them I wanted to go too!

     After elementary I had to catch a bus to middle. It was so dangerous!! The bus stop's on a highway and there was no sidewalk for it! The whole time I was like "Don't hit me!" Mainly because in Asia being hit is way more dangerous than the states. Most people will keep going, others will also hit you if you're thrown in the way, or worse! (There are people that will hit you again to be sure you've died. This at least saves them from a possible lifetime of financial medical support. -_-)

     Anywho, I got to middle safely and did a bit of work/ research. Then it was time to head home. I tried to throw things in the wash, cook, and study a bit because I will be very busy for the next two weeks. Unfortunately 2hrs is barely enough time and I was rushing out to Japanese class. I'm happy to have somewhere to go and something to do. I like the people there too. I'm fairly proficient in Japanese and yet I the fact that I can't use English stumps me sometimes. For my other classmates, Japanese and Korean can be used. The high schooler can only help with English so much haha 

     I'm glad he's there though. Helps my argument when I tell people that some kids are working towards what they want in Hagwons. He added Japanese to his schedule because he likes it through and through.

Alright, gotta sleep and prepare for tomorrow. I can be a little late though because we are having the graduation ceremony and no classes.

Lunch at elem2  The dumpling on the rice is good! I find it funny how often they eat quail eggs here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elementary One Week (Version 2)

I had to go to my 2nd elementary for the whole day. When I got here my co-teacher gave me the info on how to take a bus there but it was wrong! It only worked if I went to the middle school first and then tranferred to another bus -_-
Of course I had checked this info a while back so there was no such drama my first day. I suggest learning to use navermap and checking your city's bus schedule. I found a bus that I could take all the way down :p

When I arrived I didn't see the actual school name. 0.0 I asked an old lady that was was walking through the gate with a kid and she assured my assumption. So I went into the school and explained who I was to another lady and they called for my co-worker there. They were kind of surprised that I didn't have any slippers...not sure why since everywhere else let me use a school pair. I eventually got some from them but decided to buy my own because they're all ugly and cold! Lol

She explained that she would be leaving and I'd work with a different lady for the year. Yaaaay! Why? Not that this lady is bad in any way but the new lady will be none other than my favorite coworker from the middle school~~~! She was a temp teacher so I was sad since she didn't know in advance about what she'd be doing.

Well this teacher had also not finished the lesson plans so that's what we worked on. Of course I introduced myself and had them do the same with a bit of Q&A so they weren't bored. 2hrs per period is long for elementary. I started with 6th grade and they were excited until they learned that I also will continue at the middle school. Unfortunately one girl will not attend for family reasons and will be home schooling. That's not always bad in the states but you can easily reenter the public school system with proper testing. You can't here. For some reason you have to stay in or out after elementary, but don't worry. They can still go to college.

The 5th graders have been taught very well! I was highly pleased with their skills and even inspired to adjust my reward program. Still not sure what the big prize will be. :/

After lunch we had 4hrs of....nothing to do -_- I didn't bring any work because I'd thought we would do some planning. Maybe they would prefer to wait for the new teacher. Understandable.

The principal was willing to let me go an hour early, but my coworker had offered me a ride so I waited. We left and went to Lotte Mart so that I could pick up some things from a leaving teacher. He was eager to get rid of things but I only wanted his hangers, shopping bags and towels. He threw in some school slippers but I still wanna buy my own.

I caught a different set of busses going back because it was too cold to wait too long. All in all it was a great day :)

That garlic bread was kind of sweet...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Elementary One Week (Version 1)

I kind of like this whole two different school types gig. Middle school and Elementary school both should start around 9am, but Elementary actually lags to about 9:20am. Not sure how but it gives me a feeling of refreshedness in the morning.

Anywho, I went in and thought and found the cabinet with flip-flops and switched a pair with my boots. I'm actually getting annoyed of taking off my boots all the time and putting them back on, but you just can't wear outside shoes inside. My feet were getting cold in the sandals though :(

The vice principle came in the same time that I did and she asked what I was there for. I wasn't sure if I'd remembered her from the last time I'd been there (2months ago). I didn't think I understood her question so I just said, "Chonen yung oh sungsangnim imnida." and she said, "oh wah so?" and motioned for me to follow her. [I'm the Eng. teacher, -Oh you're here?]

**Pause!** I don't know how some people go to another country and actually don't understand the language enough for polite conversation. I had planned to feign ignorance to everything, but that went out the window the first time I went there because one teacher asked if I was looking for my child! 0.0 Is there a child that resembles a black person here? Do you think I've adopted a child and just came to school to check up on him? NO MA'AM! No kids from this youngin'!**Resume**

When we got to the office it occurred to me that she was the VP. One of my co-teachers was in there going over plans with another teacher. The VP had apparently forgotten that I was going to be teaching at their school long-term because she immediately started talking to my co-teacher about me. Asking about how often I'd visit and such. The principal came in and we all greeted him. I would like to take the time now to let you in on a cultural tidbit. You want to stand and greet superiors. I was taught this in 5th grade, but over the years I stopped doing it because no one else did and I started feeling too ... much like others thought I thought I was better than them. I won't lie, I feel better than others when I seem better home trained.

We went off to teach the first class. I was expecting and hoping to play games with the 3rd and 4th graders, but my co-teacher had planned for them to go over their lessons. It's funny because yesterday my FB group and I were talking about who would just show movies and who would actually teach. There were sooooo many people that were saying the kids need a break so show a movie or just play games, but honestly for middle school I wanted only to engage in lesson learning. Middle school was done with the book, but I was going to have them do that good old "During my vacation I...." speech :D   I expect to push and get results. I come off a bit too abrasive and bothersome and complex, but I still push even when disagreeing with myself.

My advice...or explanation for those just reading to enjoy my life (*chuckle*)... is that you have a few options about what to do depending on your work situation. My co-teachers seem to have the 'they might as well learn something' attitude. They range within themselves when it comes to who actually teaches a full lesson and who just lets the kids review. Other schools have co-teachers that force you to play a movie. Other schools let you tell them what you'd like to do and might go along with it implementing only minor changes. (Or so my FB group has experienced.)

My coteach and I discussed a few things during the break today. She is very passionate about English and teaching it to students. She aspires to improve her already impressive English and have students, preferably high school, that excel in a way that will make her proud and feel that her effort is worth it.

Now some of you are saying, those other cats were right. Asian kids are in school 20/24/7 and need a good break. They have so much stress and high suicide rates!! I don't deny that the students spend a lot of time in school/classes physically or that the suicide rates are high. My problem lies in the amount of truth to the facts. I have had more than a couple (meaning just 2) Korean friends in my lifetime. I've met them throughout high school and college years in significant numbers. I've befriended a good group of native Korean friends at each stage. I say native because they were studying abroad in the states. Two of them from college have become long term friends.

Why are you telling me this? Because. According to them we muddle the numbers of the students actually studying and trying hard to pass those tests in that 20hrs worth of school. They've told me that it's not that serious. Like a lot of parents, theirs didn't want them to fail and so did carry out punishments at appropriate times, but the majority of the kids are not trying to come out with a 300% in all of their classes. They aren't losing sleep and upsetting their eating habits over school work. They are just being kids. They sleep in class not because they are worn out from class work, but because they are worn out from the physical hours put into class.

In fact I've seen with my own eyes students staying after school to "do their homework" or stick around "in case they need help" only to find them watching kpop mvs, playing video games, and outright socializing with each other. This was 2 hours after school had completely ended! No extra after school program, or volunteer activity, or anything.

I'm writing all of this to encourage one thing. Pay attention to your students. Some of them will go to a hagwon for English among other things, and still not be able to say or spell, "Yesterday I went to the market with my family." -_- Others will beg you in improving English not to give them anymore work and to just let them play a game. They will also talk to you as much as possible. Then you will have those that don't speak due to shyness but can write up a paper like no body's business! With understandable mistakes of course. (Misuse of an article here and there, incorrect conjugation of some adverbs, etc.)

So do what you think is best for your class. My classes need to be pushed this year. So shoving, I will do!  *laughing to self and doing a Hwaiting~~! pose.*

One Week of School!!

I know it's been a while but I like to investigate a new country for a bit myself and then post about the place. I feel more informed now and school has temporarily restarted so, I will too!

Let's start back at the end of my English camp. I was told that I'd have to come to school 2 days before it started because that's how my vacation mapped out (26dys only). So I was at school on Thursday and Friday last week "preparing". It's in quotes because apparently other visiting teachers do other things. (Not judging.)

I prepared vocab lists and homework because the students have a hard time with spelling and I feel having the workbook answers in the back hinders their learning. I did waste a lot of Thursday but Friday I made it count.
Went to Seoul on the weekend and was ready for school Monday! Well, kind of. You see I wasn't told anything about how this new year transition works. So let me explain now that I'm more informed.

In korea the schools do a winter break in December/January (depending on where it is. Ask.) And come back for a week of classes in February. A lot of teachers let them watch movies or play but it's ok to teach too. Just remember that by this point they should have finished their textbook.

After this week you will have to come to school for another 2 weeks for planning. Allegedly everyone will be mapping out the new school year and making the schedule. At my school, the teachers will take a 3day 2night trip. I'm invited. Then I have to attend a training workshop for 7dys.

And finally but sadly, the first day of school will be on Friday (result of a federal holiday) the 2nd of March. So we'll see how that goes.
****Wait. Why are you guys going on a trip during planning week? Oh, the school board had given our school a lot of money and it must be spent. Of course we're not allowed to buy school supplies though...

Sometimes we play volleyball together.

This was lunch today. The top right was a type of octopus kimchi. The middle was chicken and noodles. The soup is a popular veggie soup.

This was dinner because our principal's daughter got married. :)  He was very excited. He's about 60yrs old.

It's because of the wedding and joy of the principle that we are obliged to stay after on a Monday and play volleyball and eat dinner. (Not really complainin' since I had no plans...)