“One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.” – George Allen
Renee sent me a note on Facebook asking me how things were really going over there and after I started typing a response to her I couldn’t stop! I realized after I hit send that I needed to blog what I wrote since it tells how things are really going out here and what it is like. So prepare for an onslaught of words!
Things are going good. We don’t have co-teachers, in the sense like public schools do. We don’t actually talk with the Korean teachers there at all. But I do have lots of fellow foreigner teachers that I work with and I get along with them pretty good. There are only four of us that are “M-Poly” teachers, meaning we teach the older kids (middle school) in the afternoon and evening and overlap with the “E-Poly” (elementary) teachers for a few hours since they work mornings and evenings.
I haven’t really hung out with them much yet since money is really tight and I don’t have a phone in order to keep in touch (even though we all live in the same building!). But I would feel weird just randomly showing up at their door. Also, most of the teachers have been in Korea for a few years and are on the second or third teaching gig and don’t really have the “let’s explore and see what is out there” mentality I have. I think at Poly they tend to hire experienced teachers so I am not the norm at what they usually hire.
Speaking of Poly… they pay really well but they work you to the frickin’ bone. We have to write monthly comments on the students which is like a paragraph for each student and we each have about 40 students we have to write them for. We conduct monthly tests which we have to proctor. And even though we have a curriculum we have to create fun and interesting lesson plans for each class. Trying to make middle school science fun and interesting has definitely been a challenge! Velocity, Speed, and Vectors, oh my! We have to give and grade homework everyday. We have to record everything on the website so parents can see it. We give weekly writing prompts and book reports we have to grade and some of them are really painful and others are a breeze but there are still a lot of them. There is more we have to do but it is so much to remember and I can’t think of it all right now!
Definitely not the chill job I was expecting, but I am learning a lot. I could probably take all I have learned and teach in an American school since that is basically what it is like. A lot of the kids speak excellent English so I am teaching real subjects rather then how to speak English. I am teaching some interesting subjects besides Science (which is hard and I have to study it before each class!) like one class I am conducting called Korean Herald where we are writing a newspaper and some reading classes where we are read actual novels rather then textbooks.
So I have been doing a lot of walking around and just scoping out the area. I go hours and hours never speaking. At times, it is weird sometimes to be the huge lumbering blond whitey amidst all the delicate Asians. I have just about mastered Hello and Thank you and plan to start on the written language soon so while I am wandering around I can start reading some of the signs and I can go into a restaurant and order something!
I haven’t eaten out much because one, I am being chicken shit about going out and ordering by myself, and haven’t had a chance to go out with many people, except the with Danielle, yet.
I can say I am super duper glad I have my Nook to read e-books on or else I would have gone crazy, you can only go wandering around so many hours in the day. And I am super duper glad I put some TV shows and movies on my comp before I left, as well!
Let’s see.. what else…. I plan to start traveling on weekends in probably a month, once my finances are settled. They don’t mention about all the charges like paying for your medical ($130) and your ARC card ($30) and other random charges that seem to show up. My apartment is nice. It isn’t huge but I do have an electric stove and an enclosed shower which is nice and my water pressure in the shower is FRICKIN’ UNBELIEVABLE. It is like a steaming hot massage, I could spend hours under it.
I am starting to put together a list of what I am glad I brought (like my Nook and flavored teas) and what I wish I would have brought (like a backpack!). I plan to do a blog post about it in about a month.
I think that covers a lot! I wish it was three months down the road where I felt more comfortable, these first few months are bound to be brutal.
One last thing. So far I haven’t been super impressed with Korean food and don’t think it will ever be in my list of favorites, but I am comforted in the knowledge that I did bring some spice packets like ones for making Taco meat, ranch dressing, Alfredo sauce, and a couple others, so I plan to use those soon!
Though I am working a lot at school. I am glad I am staying busy there. I have heard so many stories about teachers having to desk warm and sit around for hours finding ways to keep themselves occupied. With all my work the days zoom by and I am surprised at how much I am enjoying teaching.