Hi all! I should be out at the moment (it is 11pm on a Friday night – whomp whomp – go ahead and judge me) but I have to work in the morning. Hopefully it is the last working Saturday I have for awhile. I just finished my 2nd week of teaching, well almost, I won’t consider it complete until tomorrow. I am adjusting to my new work schedule, although I have been staying up super late and sleeping in a bit too much. I don’t have to be at work until 1:30 or 2:30 each day, so it is easy to hit snooze for hours and hours. I need to motivate myself to get to bed earlier so I can have productive mornings. I will work on that next week. Can I still use jet-lag as a sleep-in excuse?
Anyway, I am loving my classes. The kids are so eager to learn and I am amazed at their focus even after being in regular school all day. I had to be firm with a few of my classes this week. They are now getting used to me and they tend to be very loud and can not sit still. I have many methods to encourage good behavior. Each student has a sticker page on the board in the classroom where they can showcase their earned stickers – they LOVE stickers! Also, I bought some cheap candy from Homeplus (like Walmart) and I entice them throughout the class: “Do you want candy at the end of the lesson or not??” Chungdahm has a points system where I can give students 10, 30 or 50 points for fantastic behavior. Students can use their points to “buy” prizes offered by Chungdahm. And of course there’s always ME. A few of the young students are always asking me: “Teacher happy??” They look so concerned and I tend to answer: “Of course I am!” I don’t even want to consider what they would say/do if I answered differently.
My students had the most trouble this week with our creative thinking project. I assumed it would be a breeze and they would love it. During this part of class students work in groups and focus on a small project that involves illustration and creative writing. Most of the students were so confused, they didn’t understand the concept of group work and kept looking for/asking me for the answers. I tried to explain that there were no right answers, that they could use their imaginations to make whatever they wanted. Still confused… Hopefully as the weeks progress they will learn to love this and have fun with it.
My free time this week was consumed with running, reading and really bad TV…I am proud of 2 of the 3. I am excited that I live so close to the river and I can feel safe running there day and night. I hope to make running part of my daily routine, or at least a habit that I stick to 4-5 times a week. I have made it through 2 books in the past week and am so happy I brought my Ipad with me to Korea. Any reading recommendations are appreciated. I have also gotten sucked into some pretty crappy TV. My internet isn’t working that well so I am unable to watch preferred movies/TV on it. I do have a TV in my room but the 3 English channels are strictly cheesy cop shows and bad action movies. Of course I love myself an old SVU marathon every now and then, but I hope to get my internet fixed soon and catch up on my favorite current shows that I have missed in the last month.
I look forward to spending more time with my co-workers in the coming weeks. This week I had dinner with one of them and another took us new teachers to set up bank accounts. I don’t see many of the teachers while I am at school because I work with the young kids 2-8pm and they work 4-10pm but I look forward to getting to know them outside of school.
Tomorrow afternoon I am headed into Seoul to meet up with people from training week. I do not know our exact plans, but I am sure it will be fun! I am a bit nervous to travel by myself from my city into Seoul. I am sure I will eventually make it there, it might just take me awhile and maybe include some helpless/confused hand-gestures. I look forward to seeing familiar faces – it should be a blast!! I went out in Seoul a bit during training week and if that was any indication of the rest of my nights in Seoul I am so ready! (see the Noise Basement photo – I stole it from a friend – thanks Simon)
Lastly, I have included a hilarious video of a baby eating kimchi and LOVING it. If you have tasted kimchi (a traditional fermented Korean dish made of vegetables with a variety of seasonings) you will understand. I have not learned to love kimchi yet, the taste is a bit much for me. I have yet to master chopsticks also. So this baby just makes me look bad.