Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is really my life. I’m on the other side of the world in the place called Korea. I take a bus through the mountainside to go to work, and I am teacher. Everyday children file into my classroom and listen and repeat the things I say in order to learn and grow, and they address me with a title I never thought I would have in a million years. Just in the couple of weeks I have been at this job I feel I have changed completely. The responsibility is so much, but every time one of my kids remembers what I taught them the day before I get so happy! I am actually helping to shape these children’s lives.
This is my office and classroom where the magic happens.
It has been an interesting time trying to figure out the most effective way to hold their attention, and I now have so much respect for anyone who has ever been a teacher. Lesson planning each day in itself is hard work, but the real work is trying to implement those ideas in the classroom. Especially when you are working with kids who can’t understand most of what you’re saying. Then not only do you have to plan these great lessons, but you have to explain them in a way that the kids will understand. If you want to play a game then you have to explain the rules, or if you want to explain a concept, you have to use very simple English which can sometimes seem impossible with your best efforts.
But, oh, the good days are so good! When the kids understand exactly what I want to say I just want to scream in rejoice. When I let them play an English learning game and they really enjoy it without getting out of hand, I always stupidly think that from now on class will turn out perfect like before. FALSE! There’s always one class or one kid every so often that just doesn’t behave or doesn’t understand, and it can be so frustrating sometimes.
One day I was having the worst day. It was the kind of day when everything that could possibly go wrong… does>> times TEN. First I get on the wrong bus to school, but I have time to correct my mistake before my bus leaves. As I am sitting on the correct bus, I realize just as it starts to leave the terminal that I left my purse on the other. I had to leap off and run back to the wrong bus to get it, and watch my one ride to school drive away. Oh, and did I mention there is only one bus every 2.5 hours! So in just my first week of school I miss two classes and then I get there just in time for 3rd grade. 3rd grade…. so adorable and small, yet they can smell fear. As soon as they come in so does my principal, vice principal, mentor teacher and vice principal from another school. Due to a miscommunication, I wasn’t told that I would have an audience and was thus unprepared to super impress my bosses. Third grade failed me miserably that day. Nothing I did interested them enough to keep their attention, and they were so loud… that was one of the worst days, but it makes for a good story at least. Luckily, the good days keep me energized, and there are way more good days than bad! It’s so great to teach the kids different songs and dances or games where they are having so much fun that they don’t even realize how much they are learning or using their English skills. Those are the best days ever!
Here are a couple pictures of the kids I teach on a regular basis.
That’s all for now, but I think for the next blog I’ll have some good videos of the the lessons I do with the kids. Til then!