Monday, March 12, 2012

Serious Gap From Elementary to Middle School

I came into this job working only at the middle school for one month straight. I had sensed that my 3rd graders (9th grade) were ok, but should have been better. 2nd graders (8th grade) were totally slackin' but possibly just shy. My 1st graders (7th grade) were on the ball. Not necessarily in knowing more vocab, but definitely in listening and trying to formulate sentences.

Fast forward. I finally have started my real schedule of going to the 2 elementary schools in the week. These kids are pretty much rockin' it. They have more enthusiasm too. They stick to simple sentences, but they are making sure to get them down packed! 

Of course since it's technically the new school year now, everyone's moved up a grade. I'll never see those wavering 9th graders again, but the 8th graders still suck and have kids in the class that totally disrupt anyone trying to learn. I will be making a seating chart for use starting next class. The 7th graders are just improving their butts off! lol We even joke in their class. Not all are good enough to understand the jokes, but I can feel it coming in due time.

So why did I make this post?

Because it seems to me like (at least in this area) Korea has lost a generation. Why are their 8th and 9th graders even moving up in the world? How? They don't know any of their subject well!! This was confirmed by my co-teacher today when I told her I was worried for the kids' futures. She just reluctantly replied that all of the teachers are! They have been doing poorly in ALL SUBJECTS! I don't understand.

Apparently no one showed those kids how hard life will be without wisdom and knowledge. No one has mentioned the differences between them and their juniors. The juniors will definitely be the ones to carry Korea on in the future, but first Korea will suffer the consequences of the mistakes made by the current 15-18yr olds. Now luckily for us in America seniority is not everything. Age is but a number in the case of choosing the better person for the job. Hence I feel like our students at least try their best and don't completely hold back other students from doing well. They accept that the better people will end up as their bosses.

Korea on the other hand seems to accept the even if the older person is wrong, they are still older and should have first pick. 0.0 I'm hoping I'm wrong, but this is what I've learned from word of mouth and books. Of course since times change, it's possible that they are working on a plan right now to try and circumvent that Confucian philosophy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

NETs of the Past

What is an NET? Native English Teacher. When you sign up to be one and you set your sites on a country, what are you really signing up for? 

  • A way to make bank!
  • An easier place to live that allows for great travel and stories!!
  • Just a good kick back so I don't have to pay rent.
  • A chance to marry a submissive Asian wife.
  • A chance to marry a way more family oriented and caring Asian husband.
  • I don't know yet...

Ummm wrong! You are signing up to be a TEACHER you punk! That means helping in some way to brighten the long hallway leading to many children's future. Do you disagree? Then you suck. Seriously. I love all of the benefits that come with being an overseas teacher. Those should be a plus for a job that you know you can do. If you were money hungry or lost in life and just up and decided to come to these countries to "figure out who you are", then don't bother.

  1. I came to Korea because the benefit package matched just what I needed. BUT! 
  2. I knew that I like working around children. Preferably ages 3-14. 
  3. I knew that I like helping others. I've tutored in school since middle school. I used to play "School" as a game when I was babysitting my younger siblings and other rugrats. 
  4. I knew that I prefer to control what I'm doing in MY job. I liked working in the service industry but if I'm not a manager then I'm left thinking of what I would have invoked, done differently or what is better for the company as a whole. So being an underling just doesn't fit with me.

Okay... -_- Why did you write about this?

Well, my co-teacher at elem2 and I were talking and she had told the students that we would be giving out a lot of homework. Korean students do NOT get homework (most commonly). When it is assigned they DON'T do it (commonly) and the baffled Korean teacher accepts that...(commonly). I tell you public school is very peculiar. Anywho the kids were like 0.0 "We don't get homework!" to which she responded "You do now. No crying about it either." I stifled a laugh each period.

Now about the accusations. As she was telling me the above she mentioned how great she thought I was. I was confused (momentarily) because I'm just doing what teachers do. Lesson planning, assignment making, home work/ project brainstorming, etc. I know of some slackish NETs and I wish they'd get replaced already. I told her that and she said, "Yeah, it's too bad. The principal, vice principal and a few teachers here hate NETs. The guy before you just left after 9mos. Disappeared. They called his home country one day and he answered the phone saying yes he was home."
The former Korean co-teacher that I met also had stories on him. "He came in and would sit down at the desk for each class...for the whole class. He didn't do any planning really. He usually didn't want to talk. He didn't even want to give out candy. I made him repeat after the recordings a lot because of that."

Moving on to a different teacher from the year before, my co-teacher says,"The principal had to ask him countless times not to smoke in the classroom! He looooved smoking so much and just smoked anywhere."

Another guy from a previous year, "He didn't want to eat anything at lunch. He just came in and had a coke...he was fat too." -__-

I don't think the fat part bothered them so much as the NOT socializing at all part. Possibly the not eating and yet staying fat part too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


So Monday we got a temporary schedule for the week. I had 2 periods of 8th grade in the morning and 2 of 3rd that afternoon. It's a busy time since I have to remember where each class leaves off. I realized I have to keep track of what they do when I'm not there too!

I'll be working at three different schools every week all year long~~~~. Thus, there will be many days that students will be without my help. I've started to carry around a little book that I just diary all of the days activities in. Otherwise I wouldn't know what to do in any of the classes. Some work faster than others, some just so happen to be lazy one day and not finish what I'd planned, etc.

There's also a few students that don't know the alphabet and other basics. -__- I don't mind but it's more work trying to remember who they are and adjusting their homework accordingly. So for those of you wondering I will be working like a banshee until the end of April most likely. Carefully planning out each individual class based on their abilities, amount of time I have with them, the ability of my co-teacher that will be there when I'm not and the overall attitudes of those students.

A teacher's life...or at least what I think is acceptable of a teacher's life :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brown Meetings

Unlike China where my contact with black people were few and far between, here I am able to meet up whenever with them! Of course we have an excellent array of facebook groups for us brown people in different regions of what we call SoKo :)

So this weekend we met up in beautiful Busan! Well, I'm not sure how beautiful it was because it was a cloudy rainy day, but with all that went on it seemed clear and sunny. We met up at the 신세계 Shinsegae department store and chatted in the food court over lunch and then split into groups that went ice skating, to Spa Land and other places. Of course I chose to kick it with the spa group. We stayed in there for our whole 4hr limit. It was only 14,000won.

It was kind of funny to go as a small group of brownies in the mist of milky Koreans, but like always, it was comfortable and we were able to use the bath house, saunas, hot and cold rooms and such without the stares and pointing that people are afraid of. I don't mind being alone in the foreigner sense for the week. It's just nice to see my people on the weekends or on a random Wednesday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

First Day of School~~~!

That's right! It's Friday!!!! lol and the first day of school. Today I arrived at school early I think. It's been so long of a break, I forgot what time is good to get there! I knew classes could start at 9am so I figured 8:30 was good enough...I ended up at school around 8:15 with only a few other teachers already there. Great!

I felt good today. Excited like I've always been for school to start. A lifetime nerd I am. So I jumped on the computer and prettied up my class rules. I also had a my success contract and survey ready. About an hour before class I printed out the copies and showed my co-teacher. She was kind of busy though so she didn't really read it. That's ok though. I briefly chatted with her about some class changes (like my homework counting towards their grades) and she agreed and helped me sort out a few things last week.

...Oh. Before that we had an assembly so that all of the new 7th graders (first grade of middle school) could be welcomed. It was kind of funny watching everyone squirm around because their legs hurt from standing the whole time. I believe a few parents were in the back too. The new students were all in street clothes and had on their sneakers. I asked my co-teacher about it and she said that they would have their uniforms by summer. That works out for me because I had a few things planned for the newbies, but it required their ability to show some personality.

So anyhow this is where the printing out happens and then finally, my first class of the new year! It was 8th grade class A (higher level). I greeted them first and asked about their vacation only to find that noone went anywhere really -_- LAME! haha I then had them read the rules together one by one with me rewording them to see if it'd help the weaker students. I had asked my co-teacher to ask them what they thought of my new reward system. A few of them said it was good when I asked, but I wasn't so sure. Of course she must have mistaken my intentions and instead reexplained all the rules again haha They were so bored. There were only 10 but still.

After I had them do my little survey. Unbeknownst to them, this is how I'll remember birthdays and award with more sought after prizes at the end of each semester. Of course, that depends on their performance.

The bell rang and we had a 10min break. I went back to the teacher's room and ... dilly dallied lol  The bell rang for class time and we went to whip the class B students into shape! Well, kind of. This time I had them read the sentences and I only reworded the harder ones (-_- ones with longer sentences). They caught onto them better but I could see a few lost faces. I passed out survey for them and went around to help and check just like the last class.

Oh. Please. No~~! There are quite a few students that can't spell. They haven't learned to connect words they're trying to express. Worse than that I asked them to make a goal for my class for the year and one for the month. One kid puts "get a 55%" another "25%" !!! 0.0 

"Not in MY class!" I told them. "What? Do you want to scrub floors as a career?" We all laughed and they agreed that that was not their intention. I made them change it to at least 70%. They agreed to try and I told them to think of what they want to be when they grow up. Heck they may not need English then, but they still should do their best for the sake of that GPA.

Welp! I'm gonna get ready for the weekend~~~! Going to Busan to meet up with some other darkies hahaha