Sunday, March 15, 2009
My apologies for not updating my blog site recently. I've been keeping myself very busy with my new school, as well as creating and updating my lesson plan for my students, and hanging out with my close friends on the weekends. Also, I've been having a recent bout with the cold that has yet to disappear. I was walking around today wearing my health mask, so I promise I will show you a photo of me wearing one.
I am already entering my 3rd week of teaching, and have been in South Korea for about a month now. I find myself shocked each day as to how well I have adjusted to being a foreigner. Many Koreans I have encountered in Busan are very pleasant and kind. I am quickly familiarizing myself with the subway system, and of course, with the daily life grind such as buying groceries, going to the bank, and communicating with Koreans especially with taxi cab drivers (more on that later). My teaching experience has been both a rewarding and challenging experience. I enjoy teaching my middle school boys as they are very entertaining, lively, and the majority of them wanting to participate during class. However, they can also be a challenge. They are attention-seekers and will do anything to grab my attention in a very distracting manner. So far, I have remained consistent with my rules and policy in class, and have for the most part, gotten a better grip on my students. To establish your stance means being focused, consistent, and having swagger. I make sure I provide myself with a backup lesson plan in case there is a situation where my school laptop would not connect with the TV. I would do my best not to show nervousness and confusion as this can open up the door for students to use class time as a recess hour. Of course, a lesson plan will not always go over well with students, but it's about making those adjustments and taking notes of student progress after class that can lessen those errors. Case in point, my Monday and Tuesday classes tend to be a bit of a struggle because I'm testing a new lesson plan out, and this also means having to consult with 4 different Korean co-teachers as to what their role is during class time. This can become a headache, and my students can sometimes get a little restless if certain parts of the lesson plan is not motivating them. I make those adjustments afterwards, and see where certain activities may need further exploration. By then, my week tends to be much easier as my students are more attentive with the activities. However, this can get frustrating as I hate having to use my Monday and Tuesday classes as my rehearsal time, so this is something that I'm currently working on hammering out.
My co-teachers up to this point have been very supportive, and have given me more creative freedom to work on my lesson plans. I have been treated quite kindly by them as I usually see a snack or drink left on my desk whenever I get back from class. My co-teacher and her colleagues took me out for dinner at a traditional Korean restaurant in which I also tried stingray which was delicious.
This week, my school will set up my English Zone space for me which will allow students to come in during their lunch time to practice their one-on-one English skills with me. I am definitely excited about this opportunity as this will not only lighten the load on my class hours, but also give me more time to work with students on a more personal basis as this can help me determine my next criteria when working on my lesson plana.
Lately, I have been feeling quite confident in my daily life as a foreigner. Yes, there are some imperfections that go along the way, like missing the last train which leaves at 12 am (WHAT?!?!?!) twice already, my cab driver taking me to Haeundae Beach instead of Gwangalli Beach, and a few other clumsy situations, but those are bound to happen. As a rule of thumb as I've been making myself learn; be flexible, know that things are bound to change at the last second. Despite my class being 45 minutes, it's very common for Korean teachers to show up about a few minutes after class starts. I am beginning to learn more and more that Asians in general tend to arrive fashionably late. Another example, I was supposed to teach my one class on Friday, only to find out within minutes that I didn't have to show up to my class. Korea, as I've been told during orientation, is dynamic. Nothing is ever set in stone until the very last second. Learn it, live it, and accept it (or embrace it for that matter).
There are plenty more I can discuss, but I'm running out of time. Kamsa Hamnida!!!