Back to School!

23 Mar

I have been an English teacher now for almost a month. Up until now, I must admit, things were going better than expected. My general phobia of children kind of faded and I think I might be enjoying this gig! Yeah, yeah I know that the reason for coming to Korea was to be a teacher.

It has been confirmed by various sources that I’m currently teaching at a badass school. My school’s reputation exceeds it and the teachers here have a constant struggle with the kids. And believe you me I’ve had my days where the kids drive me insane. There are general discipline problems here and most of the students have given up. Many of them know that they won’t be going to high school so why bother?! Also in the extreme cases many parents have surrendered to their kids. One of the kids here actually physically attacked his mom. Another one was caught smoking and when the teacher confiscated his smokes, the student actually demanded them back from the teacher. Never in my life … With all the glitches and my permanent hoarse voice am I really enjoying it. When the students are participating and actually achieving something there is a great sense of reward. And because my school is in a very poor area many of the students have never been exposed to any foreign culture, so I feel truly honoured sometimes to be able to present it to them! In my previous post I commented on the punishment in my school but I have now come to the realisation that at this school the teachers have no choice. The parents aren’t doing squat to discipline their kids and some students are stealing the opportunity from other students to learn in a peaceful and good educational setting.

My school is one of the smaller middle schools in Daegu with about 300-400 students. My school consists of two buildings – the main building and the cafeteria. The main building has 5 floors. There are three English centers at my school, but I only teach in two of them. Both on the fifth floor – and to this day I have never used the lift. All the classrooms are equipped with a computer and internet access and also a big flat screen TV. Welcome to Korea. The English centers have a complete multimedia system, including a sound system and an interactive whiteboard that works with the computer. Crazy! Here in Korea teachers seldom have their own classrooms. Teachers rotate between classes and rather go to the students. All the teachers are based in the teacher’s office, where each teacher, including me, has a desk with a computer. This is all the lesson planning and blogging is done! I start working at 08:30AM and the fist class of the day is 09:00 AM. School goes until about 4pm but I have to work until 04:30pm. There is an hour of lunch but it is regarded as a working lunch. Go eat your lunch but come back and continue working. I have 19 regular classes a week and now also two after school conversation classes on a Monday and a Wednesday. Although Mondays and Tuesdays are a bit crazy the rest of the time I have about three classes a day. This gives me a lot of time to just hang in the teachers office and do whatever. Sleeping in work hours seem to be the norm as all my co-teachers have taken a nap at one time or another during my month here. Even my vice-principal took a lengthy nap the other day. I haven’t been so exhausted that I needed to rest my eyes, but one of my friends actually fell asleep facing her co-teacher.

And that is how it is to be back in school as a grown up!

Here are some pics from my school!

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One Response to “Back to School!”

  1. kaalvoetinireen March 23, 2010 at 22:44 #

    Glad that you’re enjoying it! It must be hard with so many students in a classroom when they don’t behave. I know how I feel with the smaller classes at Hagwons!

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