Sunday, 4 September 2011

Everyone Loves Pictures to Start Off With!

Starting off with some pictures since I'm sure most of you are curious to see:
Our apartment on the second day. Quite messy as we are unpacking.
Kitchen area. There is a button underneath the sink you press with your foot to use the water. The fridge is to the right of the sink and the freezer likewise.
The entry to our apartment. When you walk in, the light comes on.
Ryan's first day:My first day:Jeong-hyo's first day:

Back! I'm just going to jump right back in.

Day 2, we woke up at 6:00 am. Our bodies naturally woke us up around that time, so we figured we would walk around, grab some breakfast, and then we would walk back to our apartment. While walking around, we decided to go to a place called "Paris Baguette", which is every 10-15 blocks around Bundang... or so it seems. There is one right across the street from our apartment and one in the same building as our school. Funny thing was, after breakfast, our boss picked us up from our apartment and treated us to another breakfast and coffee but at the Paris Baguette at our school. On our first day, we were introduced to 3 little kids aged 6 and 7 in Korean years. That means they are around 4-6 years old in the American age system. Anyway, there are two boys and one girl- Andy, Jack, and Jeong-hyo. We were told that these kids made a sort of "triangle" where if one boy played with Jeong-hyo, the other boy would get jealous and want to sit next to her/play with her. We were also told that one of the boys, Jack, was very slow at all his subjects, so Ryan and I were determined to help him catch up with his classmates.

We learned very quickly that Jack is a distraction and a trouble-maker, so the first day, we got a good feel of how things would run in the classroom with him around. Andy is the little goody two shoes-- very obedient and quiet most of the time. When he gets upset, he starts to make little foams in his mouth that bubble out and stares hard at something while his eyes tear up. It actually happened on the first day during math time. Ryan and I couldn't figure out what was wrong until we asked Jack who told us that he wanted Jeong-hyo to do the same page as him.

Class with these 3 kids goes until 2:30 and then our kids from 2:35-4:00 are older kids, but we teach in separate classrooms (1st grade and up). The kids I have from 2:35-4:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday can be sweet, but they can also be little devils. They actually gave me the hardest time my third day (Friday), which I will try and talk about in another post. But I have six kids that all sit at a small table and talk to each other all the time at every opportunity they can. Some of them have really bad attitude problems and I have to scold them, which I hate doing. :/ The girl I have from 2:35-4:00 on Tuesday and Thursday is very smart, talkative, but also very respectful. Her name is Lea, and she is the prettiest student I have even for how young she is. I think she is 7-9 in US years. But she's always inquisitive and really surprises me with how curious she is and in a way, pushing herself to learn more. For example, we were reading about simple machines and everytime we talked about inclined planes or pulleys, she would say, "Teacher, is an elevator a pulley?" It caught me so off-guard that I just stared at her for a while. The other kids I have never really asked me questions whether they were right or wrong. She'd ask me what a wedge was and how she'd never seen one before. Then she'd go around the room trying to make inclined planes and would ask, "Teacher, inclined plane?"

My oldest kid who comes in Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, is my favorite to teach because she is in the 6th grade. The grade system here is different in the US, if I recall correctly, so she is actually older than the kids who are in 6th grade [in the US]. (I think 13 years old?) Her favorite is crazy. When I ask her about someone in her family, some of her friends, or the kids in Ryan's classroom, she says they are crazy.

Day 3 and Day 4 were kind of a blur. Some things I quickly jotted down on my sticky:

Andy was crying because I told him to put away his toys because it was time to work. So as Ryan and I tried to comfort him, Jeong-hyo and Andy started kissing him on the cheek and arms. It was the cutest thing Ryan and I had ever seen. During lunch time, Jeong-hyo tried to attack Ryan with kisses and he started giving me the "EW" look, hahah. I think he actually likes it :P My 2:30-4:00 kids (6 uncontrollable kids in the class) were getting more difficult because new students kept piling into the classroom. My inability to control them eventually led me to teach them one at a time because everyone was getting so distracted with one another. Finally, one of the older women working at the front desk got fed up with the kids being so disrespectful to me that she had to sit in there and work on papers. They have problems with understanding the difference between the words "real" and "will" and "these" and "this." It was frustrating when I would get them to finally understand the pronunciation and how to spell them just because as soon as they start to say one word to another kid, they would forget everything they just learned. Even after 5 times of getting it down. I really think they would get their spelling test right if they all just stopped talking to each other. :/ But now that I have someone else in the room to watch them, I think things will start to change.

Ryan's kids from 4:05-6:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are much like my 2:30-4:00 kids on M,W, and F. He has 3-4 boys ages 12-14, and they like to mess with him. They change their names constantly and talk to each other while he is trying to teach them. On Friday, he even had the same teacher sitting in to keep the quiet. One occasion, which I found hilarious was during break, I had walked into his room to ask how he was doing. Well, after the day was over and Ryan and I were heading home, he told me all the boys were following me as I walked out of the room to stare at me. Then they said, "Girl teacher so beautiful! Who is she?" And Ryan said, "My girlfriend." One or maybe all of them (I can't recall) said, "No, my girlfriend." Hahaha that actually kind of made my day. So sweet. :)) This has happened twice so far, and it makes my days so much better after feeling defeated from just 2 hours with 6 crazy kids that need less sugar. Ahh!

I have to say Friday was my roughest day by far just because of those 6 kids. But I'm hoping this week, I find a better way of dealing with the kids. My only complaint other than that is that Ryan and I are assigned too little to teach in the time slots we are supposed to teach. So we are taking it upon ourselves to assign more in teaching and make more worksheets. We asked for the full week schedule and brought it home with us. Hopefully things will go more smoothly for the both of us. A criticism I have of the school is that they have the older students write a journal entry, and when they correct it, they say it's all okay when there are tons of grammatical errors! I have no idea how they can let it slide like that or why they don't give it to us to correct but I was so dumbfounded when I found out. The kids, the "teachers" here know their parents are paying a lot of money for this kind of schooling. (My school is a hagwon, by the way) so it really boggles my mind that this sort of thing could go on-- reinforcing bad English when they've brought us here to teach them proper English. I guess on the upside, it helped to give me an idea of what to work on with my 6th grader and other students.

And on the bright side, Ryan and I were having trouble ordering breakfast Friday morning. We ordered bibimbap (traditional Korean food) and one man saw that we needed help ordering. He ended up buying us a soup and the entire meal! Sweet, sweet man. I wish I could thank him for his kindness, but all I could do was bow and say Kamsahamnida over and over again. It's little things like that that can make all the difference in my day. :)

I think that's all I've got for now. I'm caught up for the most part, but I'll write another entry about my first weekend here tonight. Toodles!

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