Friday, June 20, 2014

The week in review: 6/16 - 6/20

Monday 6/16/14
Last week some of the fifth graders who clean the English room after lunch had been telling me about their sale that took place today. (Some grades did this last fall, sell food/items during passing time to raise money for a nursing home). One boy wanted me to buy from his "hot noodle" stand, so they wrote reminders for me to come. I went between third and fourth periods, the first break that I had enough time, but he had sold out! So I bought a pack of kpop post-its and earrings from another cleaning girl, for 10 cents each. The earrings look really nice!

I was super exhausted after school, probably a combination of the heat and my six Monday classes, two of which are after school daycare. Takes a lot out of you.

Tuesday 6/17/14
Sixth grade classes went well; I was sleepy today. At the start of one class, my co-teacher took down the bulletin board in the back of the room. Later in the afternoon she had started putting up flags of various countries, and big printed pictures of touristy landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, etc.). She said it's because of my other co-teacher and mine's open class on Thursday - trying to make the room look better.

That other co-teacher and I finally talked again about the open class (that we have in two days!), and this time there was a lesson plan to accompany it. So there was talking, but not much communicating, I felt. If I hadn't specifically asked about the schedule, I wouldn't have known that the open class will take place in the afternoon during sixth period, so I'll probably have to push back my daycare class or something. Even though I think it's a pretty big deal in terms of the Korean education system, the class feels like a normal one so far. Yes, there is a formal written lesson plan, but we still haven't discussed the details that are always left undiscussed for regular class. We'll have three other fourth grade classes that morning to test out the lesson plan on, which is why I'm not worried about my end.

After school I was super tired again, and actually fell asleep from about 5:30 - 7:30. Made for a strange late evening, but I got my health post finished and published.

Wednesday 6/18/14
When I was about a minute from school on my walk there this morning I heard a huge roar of shouts, but couldn't see where it was coming from as I stopped to look around. Where were the people making this noise? And then it clicked, as the noise was reminiscent of nights in Madrid during soccer games. Korea's first World Cup game must be now. And sure enough, as I got into school, I saw the game on every TV in the classrooms I walked past on the way to the English room. Many of the men teachers from our floor were watching the game in the English room with my co-teacher. It ended just before 9:00 class began - good timing.

My co-teacher had stayed late and finished that bulletin board yesterday - it looks so great!

World Map bulletin board

Our third grade classes went well, and then I finished my detailed lesson plans for summer camp! (Still have to make lots of PPTs/worksheets, but the hardest part is done). I brought itsy bitsy book worksheets to color for my new after school class, since there's no TV for songs. There were at least four more kids than last week, so I had to run and make extra copies after I passed them out. When I got back to the English room at the end of the day, my co-teacher told me that a lot more teachers are coming to watch the open class tomorrow, about ten, including some native English teachers. He was going to stay late and keep working on his PPT and a few other preparations for tomorrow. I'm just banking on the fact that we get to practice the class three times in the morning, so it should be fine. I just need to ignore looking at the back of the room when all those people are there tomorrow.

Thursday 6/19/14
Open class day! In the morning I found out by checking my email that I was accepted to start writing for that blogging gig I'd applied for on Sunday! So that helped to get my mind off of things, as I started writing a draft during my break periods. We only got to practice the class twice in the morning, because it turned out the third class was actually behind a period. After lunch, chairs were set out in the back of the clean classroom for our observers. I successfully avoided eye contact with the adults sitting in the room while teaching, and it felt fairly normal for me. Afterwards there was an hour-long meeting with the observers, but 97% of it was in Korean so I had no idea what was going on. Quite frustrating, actually, to put in so much effort into an open class and not get to hear any feedback. And then I had to get going to my second grade daycare class. I'm just relieved that it's over with! Last Open Class in Korea - check.

Friday 6/20/14
Today there was a fire drill during second period, so all of the classes lined up and "sat down" (aka squatted, as Koreans can magically do so well). I found out at the start of third and fourth periods that it was club day today, so that means after lunch I had four classes back-to-back: two fifth grade classes, a first grade daycare, and then second grade daycare. TGIF!
• • •


  1. You mentioned "squatting" and the ability to squat. Many years ago I babysat for a baby in Madison who was Chinese. The parents were from Hong Kong originally. I was always amazed at the baby's mother whose ability for squatting was remarkable.I wonder if it's because it is something that is cone from little on. Our little ones are taught to sit cross legged on the floor.

    1. Doing things on the floor is a big part of Korean life, which probably has something to do with it. Though I still think their bodies must be made in such a way that it's easier! Here in Korea you'll see people of all ages -- old men and young children -- just squatting low on the sidewalk if they're waiting for something, or using their phone, etc.