Sunday, September 03, 2006

cara teacher

I have almost officially survived my first full day of school. Regular classes are done for the day and I'm just waiting until 3:30 when I teach a class of all the teachers. I should really be using this time to prepare, as that class is going to be difficult--all the teachers are at different English levels (although the range is really just very low to low intermediate) and they are also all older than I am...which makes it very awkward for me to be teaching them, especially in Korea where age hierarchy is so important. I'm not really sure what to do with them...and I really hope the principal and vice principal aren't going to be there.

Teaching the kids went pretty well. The classes already kind of have their own personalities, which I really like and can't wait to experience more of. All the kids are excited and attentive, although they hate having to talk/participate by themselves. I can get them to pronounce things correctly in a chorus by making them repeat sounds in funny ways (they think it's hilarious, which is really rewarding), but if I ask a student to say something by his/herself the pronunciation is really bad and barely a whisper. They got really into everything I had them do...even the stuff I thought would be boring. For some reason the teachers in the school all warned me repeatedly about class 3-2 (Kiyeong's class), telling me that all the students in that class are bad and stupid. I have no idea why, because this class was just as sweet and enthusiastic as the other classes and ALL the classes have basically no knowledge of English whatsoever.

My biggest problem with teaching is definitely going to be the primary teachers. Some of them start translating everything I say into Korean (even when they aren't totally sure what it is that I'm saying) and I really don't want them to do that. I know the kids can follow me without understanding every word--or even most of the words--and I don't want them to be able to just slack off and listen to the teacher's words. One teacher really wanted us to coteach, and she had the class repeat (incorrect things) in English after's going to be difficult to deal with that too. It would be really bad for me to correct the teacher in front of her class. I don't know how to deal with these problems...

Any time I'm not teaching a class, I'm here in the music classroom. The kids know that this is my "office," so there is always a big group of them asking me if I have a boyfriend (seriously), talking in Korean, hitting each other, and occasionally trying to ask me questions in a mixture of Korean and English (mostly the former). Right now there is a group of fifth grade boys playing with my cell phone and a bunch of fourth grade girls, all wearing pink, looking at my stuff and trying to talk to me about it. One of the special ed students, a girl with downs, is sitting in the corner. The students like watching me type English quickly...since English is hard for Koreans, they haven't realized that it's not hard for me. (In the same way, since Korean is easy for them, they can't understand that Korean isn't easy for me too...and can't understand that/why I don't understand them).

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