First, a disclaimer or two
a. I am using the WordPress app to write this and it might be crapola.
b. I have skipped a post chronologically (about my first impressions of my new flat and getting it sorted) because I haven’t written it yet and until I put my laundry away I’m not taking any “after” pictures.
Disclaimers all done. Let’s crack on, shall we?
Get up, Get up, Get Moving
My first class is at 10:30 but I’m expected to be there between 9:30 and 9:45. First week, so I’m super-keener and defo getting there for 9:30. It’s taking me a good 20 minutes to walk at the moment (I think once I stop gawking at signs, I’ll be faster) so I’m trying to leave the house around 9:00.
Which means getting up at 7:30 so I can do healthy-good-habit-things like eat breakfast. It was pretty rough this morning, my sleep is still buggered all to Hades and back. I was also not happy with the fact that the voltage step-changer thing in my flat was obvs not working and my hair straightener got fried. Jodi Teacher was not having good hair today. And unless I can source a straightener, I’m going to be Hair-in-a-pony-tail Teacher for the next couple months until I can get my stuff from London shipped.
Once out the door, it was a chilly twenty minute walk to the school. It’s an easy walk though and there is loads to look at. One (warmer) morning I’ll take pictures along the way and share with y’all. Once to the correct building, it’s up to the 8th floor to get to ILS (International Language School) Dongbaek.
Before We Put the Spaghetti In The Machine
So. The teacher I replaced left in December. It was apparently kind of sudden, but I’m not sure the entire story. Whatever. But what that means is that there was no one to shadow on my first day. Which is an entire boatload of bad news bears.
I was handed the Teacher’s Handbook (which is one of those handbooks that doesn’t make any sense until you’ve started actually working), a class schedule (which doesn’t make any sense until you’ve started actually working), a syllabus (which doesn’t… aw, you see where I’m going with this). I was pretty confused. One of the “foreign staff” (read: white teachers) was as helpful as she could be while getting herself ready, and the Korean staff did their best but were also teaching all day.
Not a great start to the day, but you just got to get in there and muck in. My target for today was zero children deaths and zero Jodi Teacher break-downs. As long as we all survived, even if no one learned anything, I figured we were winning.
I would have said “zero children maimed”, but in my first week teaching ever (back in 2005, the first time I had a go at this) Ryan and Julia smashed heads in the “play gym”. Ryan’s teeth went through his lip. Blood everywhere. I’ve since adjusted my targets appropriately.
::END SIDE NOTE::
From 10:30 (apparently sometimes from 09:50, if I have to do “Circle Time”) until 2:30 I teach two different kindergarten classes. It’s hard to explain. I teach “Snoopy” class (they are all named like that) for 35 minutes, then I teach “Tigger” class for 35 minutes. While I’m teaching Snoopy, either another foreign teacher or a Korean teacher teaches Tigger. And then we switch classes and classrooms. This is very different than what I did before, so it’ll take some getting used to. The good thing is that the day goes pretty quick when you work in 35 minute blocks.
The kids in Snoopy Class are 7 years old and pretty much fluent. It’s not a very large class, and they seem lovely. Smart as whips and really eager.
The kids in Tigger Class are either 4 or 5 years old and I’m not sure why anyone thought it was a good idea for me to teach them. They aren’t fluent, they can’t really write, they can’t read and they are off the fucking walls half the time. But cute? You’ve never seen cute like this. One of the little buggers told me he loved me already at the end of the day and gave me a hug. Almost made having to tell him to sit down roughly 8,000,000 times worth it.
The Snoopy kids are totes my style. The Tigger kids are going to be a real challenge, but I’m sure it’ll be alright.
In the afternoons I teach a variety of elementary aged kids in 45 minute blocks. Not much to say about them yet, they are all bright and I don’t think any will be a problem. I have one super high energy class and one quiet class, both are challenging in their own ways but I think will balance each other nicely.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I teach until 7:10, but I have two hour-long “breaks” (should be lesson planning, but that’s easy compared to teaching!) during those times. On Tuesday and Thursday I’m done by 5:30, so it is all good.
Home Again, Home Again
Happily my last class didn’t have any kids show (it is the first day after hols, after all) so I was able to leave early. I walked home with the other foreign teacher, then tucked into a lovely ramen and beer dinner. To say that I’m completely shattered at this point would be an understatement. I’m so sleepy and it is only 9:30pm. I really wanted to get this written before I crashed though, and I have brought home all the papers that were on my desk to try and organise myself a little. I don’t know if the teacher before me was good or not, but the way she had herself “organised” does my head in. I think this will be a lot easier once I get myself sorted. Once I get that done, it’ll be early to bed for me.
My first day back teaching. It was exhausting and chaotic, but I’m also happy to be doing it. Which is a good thing.
Just as a last note, as I emptied my pockets and changed into my jammies, I found the following stuff in my pocket.
The two green… things… were confiscated. The piece of eraser was a present. Oh yah.