If you have ever been a teacher of mine, I feel like I owe you an apology. Or 47.
It’s not that I thought this job was going to be a breeze, because I didn’t. It’s not that I thought I would have a full grasp of the concept of teaching on the first day, because I didn’t. I knew it would be a challenge. A change of pace and a different life was why I came here. But OH EMM GEE. This is not easy. And I will be not be disrespected by an 8 year old just because he knows two languages and I know one. No sir. It will not go down like that. You will sit down in your seat and you will do your workbook or you will see American crazy.
Oh, but discipline is one thing. It’s the easiest part by far. It’s the blank stare you get when they obviously don’t understand and there are only so many ways you can explain what the word “browse” means. Come on guys! Or when you grade tests and they failed and you know they’re smart kids and even after a week of knowing them you feel this ridiculous burden of figuring out how to not only teach them English but teaching them to care. (I know that was a ridiculous run-on, fragmented sentence. I’m conveying emotion, not teaching.)
When I interviewed for this job I was told not to accept it if I was just looking for adventure because a lot would be asked of me. Well, I’m always looking for adventure (and I found it), but she wasn’t kidding. From 1-10 we’re working. It’s monthly test week right now so I’m frantically grading papers and trying to get 12 syllabi ready for next week vocabulary and comprehension tests. And of course they give the new girl 3 classes that are using all new books. Thanks guys. They really have too much faith in me. I’m absolutely sure my co-teachers are tired of answering questions, but they’ve been so wonderful. A new Korean teacher was actually just hired about 3 days ago and she thought I’d been at Reading Star for months. She had no idea I’d only been there a week when she got there. That was a great compliment. Showed me how really welcomed I am.
SO, to all of those teachers from grade school to college, I know what a “spirited girl” I am. I have a greater appreciation for what you put up with. And I’ve only been doing this for two weeks. Just imagine how thankful I’ll be at the end of my time here! Many thanks to all of you. Most of you have no idea how much you impacted me. So, here’s to impacting others.
Okay. Now let me explain a little about my school and why I work until 10 pm. Reading Star is a hagwon. Not to be confused with Hogwarts. Because when Koreans say hagwon it sounds a lot like Hogwarts and I’m not exactly qualified to teach spells. Okay, enough Harry Potter…A hagwon is an academy. Reading Star is an English academy. You can have any type of hagwon. English, art, math, dance, tae kwon do, music, ect. Academies never end. So the kids are in school from 8:00ish to 2:00ish, depending on their school. Then after school they go to their hagwons. Some kids go to multiple academies in a day. My schedule is really confusing, and I start teaching full time Monday and I still don’t completely understand how they keep up with all of these kids. There’s a whole color coded system and everything. Some kids come Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some come Tuesday, Thursday. The ones who come on Monday, Wednesday, Friday only have the same classes on Monday, Wednesday or Monday, Friday, or Wednesday, Friday. Like I said, confusing. I don’t get it either. Whatever. I just do what they tell me to do.
So yes, these children are in school until 10 and they still have to go home and do homework from real school and their academies but it’s because their parents are paying for it. So don’t feel bad. This is by choice. Yes, all of them would rather be home watching TV or playing computer games. They tell me. But Korean culture is serious about their education. Especially English. It’s very important for college admissions in the universities here. (no pressure, right?)
Sorry, I wrote a book this time. But I’m sure you guys loved every word.
Until next time,