Tuesday, September 25, 2012

i'm a teacher

This evening a nice, friendly cable guy showed up at my apartment and re-introduced me to the 21st century by installing super fast speed internet. No more bumming from the neighbors or using my cellphone as a hotspot device! to celebrate, I'll post up some photos of my time at school. These are only from my sixth grade class, sometime soon I'll snap some photos of the cute little fourth graders I also have the pleasure of working with :)

He is such a ham. I didn't have to ask if I could take his photo, he saw me take out my cellphone and immediately started posing.
 Birthday messages for me on the board.
The classroom where I teach sixth grade. In the back you can see projects from when the old teacher was there.

 gift from one of the girls on my birthday

a project we did to wrap up the lesson "This Is My Blog".

Thursday, September 20, 2012

one month

Today marks one month since I arrived in South Korea. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to waking up to this every morning.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

first birthday in korea

My birthday was this past Tuesday (September 11), and I honestly didn't expect it to be any different from the other days. Being as how I'm in a new place, where I don't know  many people, and the people I do know, don't know me very well, I was pleasantly surprised when I was showered with loads of warmth and affection during the entire day.
At school my students sang to me after every class, and one of the 6th grade girls even gave me a small piece of candy and said "teacha, you eat. eat, eat. happy birthday, i love you!". The English level of my students is quite low and I'm finding their interest in learning even lower, so it's always a nice surprise when they spit out English sentences (even when they make no sense). After school I met up with a couple of my friends from orientation, and two new girls I've just met from my building and we went to have Samgyopsal (Korean BBQ) at a restaurant near my home. Again, I wasn't expecting anything other than a nice, relaxed meal but they surprised me with gifts (nail polish!!!), and a super delicious cake.
At school the following day, one of my co-teachers surprised me with another cake and sang to me, then we sat around in the teachers lounge eating and chatting for a bit, it was quite lovely (I didn't see the need to tell her my birthday had passed already, as I appreciated the gesture just as much).

Tomorrow is going to be my last day teaching alone, as my other co-teacher comes back from vacation on Monday. My classes will be more well behaved then, since she's very strict and in-charge of classroom management, but as nervous as I was about teaching alone, I've really grown to like it and it will be weird going back to working with somebody else watching me.

So, that was my first birthday in Korea. Last year I was in Tampa, Florida for my birthday... I wonder where I will celebrate my next birthday?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sink or Swim

I have been in Korea for exactly two weeks now, and have been teaching about half of that time.

My time here has been short so far, but it feels like a long time because I have been so busy! On average I really am only at my home long enough to sleep and do some laundry. It has been great exploring Seoul, and getting to know the people I met during orientation.

I arrived on my school on Wednesday the 29th of August & was told I would be teaching 6th and 4th grade, and that I would need to prepare two lesson plans as I would start teaching on Monday. Okay, no big deal... except, I wasn't told the level of the students, or what they had been learning in previous lessons. Basically, I had to figure out on my own from a book that is mostly in Korean.

So without any direction, I managed to pull the lesson plans together and was ready to go when Monday morning came around. On Monday morning I found out that the school was having an assembly during which I would have to introduce myself to the staff and entire student body (which is roughly about 3,300 people).
That scenario went a little something like this:
-Principal: "yakyakyak yakity yak imnida yak yak yakyayak, migook yak yak"
awkward silence. now my co-teacher proceeds to take me by the arm and takes me to the podium where I was apparently supposed to have been standing all along.

So I introduced my self and probably said something along the lines of "I am from America, I'm very happy to be here, please take care of me blah blah" the moment went by very quickly!

The rest of the week consisted of me showing an introduction powerpoint to both fourth and sixth grades, then during the second half of the class I taught from the lesson plans I had prepared.

I'm really having a hard time figure out just exactly I should do to get these kids to learn and be entertained at the same time. My CT keeps telling me my lesson plans are boring and the kids won't participate because they are so bored, so the next class I tried doing more activities and less book work. Except, they couldn't understand how to play, we we weren't able to do that either.

This week I have been teaching the sixth graders on my own as my CT is on vacation until next Monday. It has been rough, I'm not going to lie. The language barrier is really difficult, and I've had an even harder time getting them to participate.

As far as life in my apartment, or "office-tel" as it is called in Korea, I have finally figured out how to use the water heater so this past weekend I enjoyed my first hot shower since moving in. I cried happy tears. I have it the way I want it more or less, I also have very limited space though so there isn't much I can do to it, except maybe buy a futon.

So in short, these last two weeks I was thrown into a completely different world. Everything and everyone moves at lightning fast speeds, and I am somehow, managing to stay afloat during it all.

Could definitely not be able to do it without the support of my friends, and family (both near and far).

Sorry this is so wordy and scattered, I hope to be able to post more often so that I don't have to cram so much into one post.