As promised in an earlier post, I wanted to spend some time talking more about our schools. We’ve both spent a couple of weeks at our schools and are starting to get used to things. It’s a bit of a strange time to begin getting used to things because we only have about 5 weeks left in the semester.
One thing that will take longer to adjust to is our travel schools. In our school program, almost everyone is assigned to at least one travel school. This is because we are placed in more rural areas and there are further away schools that also want to take advantage of English programs. Nick has one travel school one day a week. I have two travel schools and they each take up one day out of my week.
On Tuesdays, I go to Bagnae Elementary School. Here, I have a separate co-teacher. He speaks English very well and has a great classroom presence. He seems to be very particular with how each class is structured and the class content. On Tuesdays, there is a 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, and a kindergarten class. At this point in time, he only wants me to assist with the 3-6 graders while he teaches the chunk of the lesson. I’m in charge of creating the lesson content for the Kindergarten class and leading the lesson. I’m interested to see how the rest of the semester goes. So far, I like the interaction with the kindergarten students — but, it is more difficult to control the class because there are about 18 students (compared to 6-12 students in the other grades). In many cases, some students begin walking around the room or lying on the floor during the middle of the lesson. At this school, we use squat potties. This will take a little getting used to, but I’m up for the challenge.
On Wednesdays, I travel to Paekyang Elementary School. Here, I have no co-teacher. This will take some getting used to as there is a language barrier that exists, especially with the younger students. My main school co-teacher came with me last week to help me get adjusted. I will be teaching 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, and a kindergarten class on my own at this school. The classes are a lot smaller and range from 2 students to 8 students. So far, my favorite class is kindergarten, which has 8 students. They are my most well-behaved kindergarten class and they’re a lot of fun — they’re also super adorable and constantly want to hug me. Wednesdays are my early day. I teach from 9:50-2:10 and then take two buses home. I get home around 3:30, which is a bonus.
Nick travels to Geum-san on Tuesdays, which is the island that can be seen from our apartment window. The bus he rides travels over 2 large bridges, the Sorok bridge and the Geum-san bridge. The Geum-san bridge is about the same size as the Golden Gate bridge and gives a very beautiful view of the bay as you travel over it. Geum-san is even more rural than Nokdong (where we live), and Nick really likes traveling there for school. On his travel days, he finishes up around lunch time and then travels back to Nokdong for the afternoon. However, his teachers allow him to take a 2 hour break before he goes back to work. He says that he is planning on using those 2 hours for an afternoon nap! 😛
I also teach two extra after school classes each week. This is separate from my main contract with our program and instead is through the county. It’s a kindergarten class that is held from 5:10-6:00 every Tuesday and Thursday evening at the local library/community center. I have a co-teacher at this class and it seems each week it varies in class size. The first day I taught I only had 7 students while the last couple of classes had 13 or 14 students in it. I am in charge of coming up with all of the material for this class. The kids are adorable and always greet me as they’re arriving to the library. We do singing and dancing and focus on one lesson topic all week. I’ve started to look forward to this class more than I thought I would and I’m glad that I took on the extra work.
Since it’s almost Thanksgiving in America, know that we’ll be thinking of you all! We’re thankful for the support of our family and friends, we’re thankful for this amazing experience, and we’re thankful that our fur babies are loved and cared for. 🙂 Have a great Thanksgiving!
Our next blog post will discuss our American Thanksgiving in South Korea!