Thursday, December 1, 2011

i'm a teacher now? and some other stuff.

first off, thank you for the reminders to update. very persistent, just as i'd requested. :)

i can't believe i haven't even been here for two weeks yet. it feels like training was ages ago. going non-stop like this is wearing me out. i've definitely been taking the time to sleep and be a homebody this week so i can recharge my energy before it's too far depleted.

but! to more important things! like my new job!

part of my walk to school. it's a straight shot down the
street, so it's really easy to get to. takes about 10 min.

more of the walk to work. it was rainy today.

okay, these leaves are EVERYWHERE on the sidewalk
and they are SO. FREAKING. BIG.

so i've had my first two days of teaching now, meaning i am -officially- a teacher. (finally, right?) it's gone pretty well... i think. no out of control disruptive behavior, no disasters of any kind, no completely awkwardly unprepared moments... i know this means i'm doing something right, but i still feel so incredibly clueless.

i do have to say i am glad for the training i received -- quite a lot of people getting hired to teach esl over here get thrown into the classroom immediately. the fact that i got four (intensive) days of methodology and mock teaching? i'm rather fortunate.

however. i am teaching a class i did NOT receive training in... apparently schools can only choose two courses for their incoming new teachers to be trained in, and mine had me trained in memory english and par listening. but the par level isn't just listening -- it also has a reading component. i see those kids twice a week -- one class is reading and the other is listening. aaaand guess which one they have first? (i.e. the one i taught on monday and tuesday without a damn clue in the world about how they want me to teach it?) yay reading...

overall, it still went well. one of our head instructors, will, sat in on the first hour of my reading class tuesday night and i got good feedback. he was "encouraged" by my enthusiasm and ability to build relationships with the kids and all that, so all we would need to tweak was the actual approach to teaching this class. such a relief to hear that. i actually sat in on will's reading class today and got to observe his approach, and it was immensely helpful.

hopefully, the feedback i got from will is similar to what i'll receive across the board for my classes. when it comes to memory english and listening, i did actually get to mock teach the lessons we're doing this week, so i'm feeling a little more comfortable with those. but at the same time, there ain't no way in hell i'm teaching them perfectly to chungdahm's standards. there's just so much to learn and four days of training isn't nearly enough time. i know i messed up a section here and there of the lessons, so i'm sure i'll hear about that... but they've promised to be forgiving with us newbie teachers. our branch manager, mr. kim, has been watching us closely, and so far, no complaints from him. fingers crossed it stays that way. (i'm a little terrified to get on his bad side...)

it's been a bit of a rollercoaster. i was feeling pretty down after my first day. not because it didn't go well, but just because i wasn't sure how i felt about the whole thing. i left school feeling like i was sort of winging it in the classroom and that definitely killed my confidence. plus i couldn't tell if my kids liked me or if they were scared of me. but then tuesday's classes were better, partially because they ran smoother, but also partially because some of the girls in my memory english class gave me little presents...

gum and angry birds erasers!

if the kids are giving me impromptu presents in the middle of class (one also shared her snack with me at break time), that means they like me, right? it definitely cheered me up. i'm looking forward to that class tomorrow because those little girls were such sweethearts. (and they're three of the brightest students in that class, so they're well on their way to becoming some of my favorites.)

so, all is well right now. besides observing the reading class, i had today off. i think i'm going to enjoy having wednesdays off. nice break in the middle of my work week. and even though it's kinda annoying that i don't get home from work until nearly 11pm at night, i'm a huuuuge fan of getting to sleep in until noonish every. single. day. sleeping late > going to bed early. always.

tonight, after observing the reading class, the other new teachers (kara and angus) and i went to an ex-pat bar in our area called liquor burger because they were serving leftover thanksgiving turkey and stuffing sandwiches. since i didn't get a proper thanksgiving meal, this was too good to pass up. aaand it was delicious. i love korean food, like, a lot, but i also just love turkey and stuffing. haha. it was a nice reminder of home.

turkey + stuffing sandwich with gravy and mac and cheese.

speaking of home, i got to skype with my dog last night and it was pretty awesome. and also heartbreaking. hearing my voice but not being able to smell or see me (or at least i'm not sure if she could see me on the computer screen from dad's lap?) distressed her a bit. but when dad put her back on the floor she started barking at him until he picked her back up and let her look at the computer screen. aww. my maisie dog. i wish she was here with me. :( :( :( :( :( :(

derp face. (i was making a noise to get her attention.)

waving at the camera. :(

settling into living here has been pretty easy. now that i've started work, i'm falling into a routine that's really quite comfortable. it's been rainy the past couple days so i haven't ventured out much, but i'm looking forward to checking out the little shops around my apartment. even just walking to and from liquor burger was nice tonight, despite the chill and the rain. my neighborhood is neat looking at night. very bright and colorful, which is such a change from every other place i've lived that the novelty hasn't worn off yet. and this area is really, really safe. (actually, i think that's pretty true of korea in general.) walking around alone at night? perfectly fine. my one complaint is some of the bars nearby can be a little noisy, but it isn't so bad it keeps me awake.

daytime. the brown building is my apartment building.

a yeonsu street at night!

one of the main intersections near my apartment.

might be going into seoul this weekend for some sightseeing. it feels weird that i've been here nearly two weeks and i've done hardly any touristy history/culture things. so, weather and energy permitting, i'll hopefully have some pretty pictures to post after this weekend. :)


  1. Maybe it's just the lighting, but those sandwiches look like some kind of weird cephalopod.(Octopus head? hahaha!) No, wait! Horseshoe crabs, that's it! And macaroni and cheese for Thanksgiving? So traditional. Yum.
    We still can't believe Maisie's skype abilities. Next thing you know, she'll be getting online by herself.
    My guess is those are some kind of sycamore tree leaves in your neighborhood. Looks like a nice walk to school! love you, Mom

  2. Ha! I also thought "cephalopod" when I saw those sandwiches. Your new life sounds pretty wonderful; I'm glad you're settling in so well. Sarah Y

  3. haha, the dim bar lighting isn't making them look particularly appetizing, but they were wonderful.

    and yeah, they do look like cephalopods.