Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Chugging through the first teaching week

Posted by quirksalight on March 12, 2008

And it’s been a tiring, but highly amusing, couple of days. My classroom is pretty large – quite possibly twice the size of my old apartment, which would make it 450-500 square feet. So speaking to three dozen middle school kids takes a bit of voice, and to do so 4-5 times a day, well, it’s quite a lot of talking in a slightly raised voice. =P
But the best part of being in Buheung Middle School are by co-teachers. There are five Korean English teachers who I work with, and I don’t know what kind of Karmic payment I did to deserve this, but all five of them are fantastic! We get along quite well, communication can be rough, but everyone is more than willing to work on it until we are sure that everyone understands what the other person is trying to say. Even in the classroom, our ideas on how to teach the speaking class (the one I am teaching) just ended up meshing very well. They had wanted someone who would teach the class, so they can work in a more observational role, and getting involved in in the main activity section of the lesson, where we both roam the classroom to help out students as they are completing their group lessons. That was exactly what I had in mind, so it was perfect. I love my co-teachers! The amount of planning dialog is phenomenal. They have made my transition in to living in Korea and teaching middle schoolers so smooth and relaxed…it’s just excellent.

Monday, I was a bit nervous, as it was a lot kids at once, and I was basically doing a trial run of my lesson plan with the first class. This week’s lesson (I only have the kids once a week) was on introductions. Introducing yourself, interviewing others and introducing them. Basic questions on name and interests. I tried to keep my cousin’s advice in mind, that I need to be able to change the lesson plan on the spot due to the response of the students to what I was teaching them, but it was hard to balance that with trying to keep my eye on them, while trying to elicit them to speak in English, which most were reluctant to do so.

But by the end of the day, i was comfortable with my Introduction lesson, and was able to adjust the presentations and games in relation to the students engagement level per class. Some classes were very quick, so we covered more material. In one class, I ran out of material, even my extra stuff, as that particular 9th grade (Middle school, 3rd year) class was extremely quick with the material.

One consistent bit of humor was the Q&A session I let the kids have with me. The majority of them are very curious about the “Native English Speaker” who’s been dropped in on their school. So I let them ask their questions, as long as it’s in English, for 5-10 mins in the Introduction class. I’ve gotten a couple amusing ones, such as: “Do you have a boyfriend?”, “What is your ideal man?”, “Is your brother handsome?”, and “Do you know Kim Sin Yeong? You look like her; she’s really cute.”

Two more days of Introduction lessons to go, and planning for next week!

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3 Responses to “Chugging through the first teaching week”

  1. geektress said

    I just stumbled upon your blog, and I find it really interesting. I just got back from teaching English in the Dominican Republic a few days ago (I was only there for a week), but I loved it! It`ll be interesting to see how your stay in Korea will be.

    Explorations in Life

  2. Jennifer said

    Hey cuz! I just realized you blogged! I told Janet and Betty about your blog, too. I don’t think they knew about it either.
    Love reading your experiences there. A small part of me wished I considered doing that back before marriage and kids… well, sort of. I feel a bit claustrophobic just looking at your apartment pictures.

  3. Hahah…. the apt is about 250 square feet, tops. It’s small. But it’s pretty much what I need, right next to tons of mass transit, and I’m not paying for it. 🙂 The smallness (and no TV) encourages me to get out (not that I need all that much of a push), though the “yellow dust” coming from China is making my hiking plans to be a health hazard.

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