Teaching in Korea

Teaching in Korea: One Month Later (Part 1)

On August 3rd, I had my first full day of teaching. I did fumble a bit trying to find where everything was in the computer and opening the right media files for the books, but a month later, I pretty much have the hang of it. One thing that still bothers me though is the communication between the Korean teachers and the foreign teachers. Communication is something that is very important to me and when it is not happening when it counts, I get very agitated and frustrated.

For the month of August, I had an intensive reading class twice a week with two different student groups. We worked on a worksheet together to answer questions pertaining to the book, brainstormed. They wrote a summary and their opinions by themselves. They had to finish their opinions before the end of class and usually had to do their summary for homework. Now, here is where my frustration came in. For the questions and brainstorming worksheets, I was told during the second class by one of the Korean teachers that I needed to tape the papers in the book because their mothers wanted it to be that way. Sure, no problem. I didn’t force the kids to have it taped in the book though. If they wanted it to keep it in a file, I let them. Then fast forward to the next week. I was told by the same teacher that I was supposed to give it to the head teacher. Seriously? You told me to put it in the book and now you want me to give it to the head teacher along with the summary and opinions? I do not like being told conflicting things. When I told her what she had said the previous week, she told me no and that the head teacher said to give it to her. So, I went to the head teacher and asked her. I did my best to remain as calm as I could, because I was already in an irritated mood before that, but I also don’t like being annoyed. Now here’s the fun part. “It’s teacher’s choice.” That’s what she said to me. Just as I thought.

I did heavily enjoy my intensive reading class. My students were fun and I only had one terrible student. He’s not a bad kid, but he did show signs of having an inattentive type ADHD. But, that is something I would never be able to talk to the parents about, because it is something that people in Korea don’t believe in (so I have been told). I’m afraid that he will never get the help he needs and will always be considered a trouble maker or a bad student. I did get to read some very interesting books. I read Treasure Island for the first time, two Judy Blume books (which I realized I have never read one of her books before as a kid), and a book called, Bunnicula, and Alexander and the  Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. If the last book sounds familiar to you, it is because it was made into a movie with Steve Carell and Jennifer Gardner. Well it was loosely based off the book a and I mean loosely. But, here are some pictures of my students from my two classes!

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As for my other elementary classes, they all have their different colors. Not that my intensive reading is done, I have another class to replace it. In total, I have five elementary classes. One I teach every day, one i teach only on Tuesdays and Thursdays (my new class), and I teach three others on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’ve only have had two classes with my new TTH (Emerald) class and they are my lowest level of English speakers from my elementary students. I’m slowly getting to know them and am trying to get a feel for their personalities. I know that one of them is going to need more help than the others. I think he might be a little shy.

Today, I had a shocking behavior surprise from one of my students in my “Wisdom” class. There are three students in there, one boy and two girls. Peter doesn’t really speak, he more makes noises, Julie is sweet and tries the most in class, and then there is Anna. My troublesome, frustrating, Anna. She doesn’t like to speak in class, answer my questions or even remotely pretends like she wants to be there. The past few classes, I have been playing games with them at the end of class since we have time to spare. She would get a lot more excited and talkative during then. But today, she was on the opposite end of the spectrum. She had so much energy, you would have thought that someone had injected sugar into her veins if you saw her. She likes to call me strange, since I overexaggerate my actions sometimes. Well, I mainly do it because they won’t talk and I am trying to get them to say something. But today when she called me strange and crazy, I “politely” yelled it right back at her. Needless to say, it turned out to be a fun class from beginning to end for once. H

In my other classes, mainly my homeroom elementary class (Smart) and my last class of the day (Brave), those are where I get my “these are the crazy, fun kids that would make anyone who is not used to children will make you pull your hair out” students. They have a lot of energy and there are times when I have had to discipline them, but class with them is never a dull moment. You can also tell when the “crazy” or “funny” ones, as they like to say in my “Smart” class, are absent, because it is a lot quieter. It kind of makes me sad, but also gives me a sigh of relief. In my “Brave” class, there are only three students, two boys and a girl. The two boys are best friends and also give me a glimpse at what my future sons will possibly be like. Again, never a dull moment. My “Knowledge” class is the only class that is in the middle when it comes to student behavior and energy levels. With it being three boys and only one girl, the boys’ can kind of be a little much for her, but it’s mainly only two that won’t stop talking. The other two kids (who ironically always sit next to each other) are the more calmer of the two and give me a sense of balance.

I love all of my kids and here are some more pictures! Say hello to Smart F!

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And hello to Knowledge P!

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Thanks for reading and until next time!

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One comment

  1. I’m glad you’re settling in and getting used to teaching here. The communication thing can really be frustrating at times, but I’ve learned you just have to be as flexible as possible. If there’s a document and you’re not sure whether or not you’ll need it later, it’s a good idea to make a photocopy. And your students seem really cute. Make sure you check that it’s alright to post the kids’ pictures in a public forum. Thanks for a good morning read! ^.^

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