Archive for middle school

I just spent my WHOLE weekend working on ONE lesson plan. Now, I know I’m slow, but this is ridiculous. My last three weeks of teaching have been pretty strong, so in some ways I feel this equal obligation to ‘Bring It’: the most fun, the most awesome, the most speaking activities, equal parts entertainer and educator. And this lesson mostly delivers that, all in preparation for parent’s observation week.

But I don’t feel like I had a weekend. I don’t feel relaxed. I didn’t even have time to go to the gym or kick back with a choice beverage.
When I was a senior in university, a professor told one of my friends that he was too good of a student. “Be a bad student, just for a bit.” I feel like I should take next week easy – pick up a lesson plan and secondary material from online, and enjoy my weekend. Live my life. Is that fair to feel as an educator? Probably not. . .

There’s about three more weeks till the kids take finals and the semester winds down into sumer vacation. I’m sure all of my fellow english teachers are waiting for it as eagerly as the kids. 😉

I’ve been in Korea for 8 months now. 8 months?? Really? Hmm.

I really enjoy my job. I think that middle school is a strange and exciting time to be teaching. But at the same time, I think that foreigners generally look at this type of job the wrong way.

Let me break down my school a little bit: We have 8 or 9 classes in each grade, each with about 36 students, give or take. ½ to 2/3rd of our students are on governmental assistance, and about two students in every class are from SE Asian/non Korean families, a huge amount for a homogenous country. Three students in every class have a difference of ability or (ha) are known to be disruptive. Each classroom has an elderly PC that may or may not work, with internet that may or may not work, with PowerPoint that may take more than 5min to boot up. My school serves pretty solid lunches; our students learn Chinese, English and Korean, and we serve almost exclusively a local community (since I live near the school, my weekends are often full of “Hi teachaaa!!” cat calls from my girls.)

Why do people come to Korea to teach? For the money, for the experience, for the opportunity to travel – and these aren’t bad reasons exactly. But this isn’t an easy gig. The kids here have needs that need to be met, and the government (and the entire English system) is willing to let a ton of relatively inexperienced teachers give it a shot for a year or two or whatnot.

I was reading some articles critiquing Teach for America, and I could draw an easy parallel between TfA and what I see a daily. Under resourced and over worked, perhaps schools across the world tell the same tired narrative. In both cases the callow and pretty are encountering the realities of educational systems that are challenging situations to begin with.

I think I’m an okay teacher. My classroom discipline needs work, and so does my direction giving. Nowhere near perfect. I’m here to make money, have fun, travel, gain experience… and to teach my kids. Yeah. Coulda just boiled it down to that.

Orientation is almost over, and then we’ll be unleash unto Korea. All 500 or so of us SMOE teachers have been under quarantine at a university campus just outside of Seoul, because of the swine flu. While not terrible, this means that for the past three days I’ve seen a grand total of 5 buildings. Whooo! Go brick! Go concrete! Blew me away, 100%. Hahah, I can’t wait to get back into Seoul!

There’s some unknown-ness about what Monday (our first day of work) will be like. I’m going to prepare a multi-level lesson about myself, all introductionary: arts, AmeriCorps, Miami, Michigan, Jewish, blah blah blah. Middle School in Korea is 7th, 8th and 9th grades, and I’ll probably only be teaching two of those levels.  I think the activities that we’ve done have prepped me pretty well. o_o Hahaha, maybe I’ll be eating those words come Monday!

Oh yeah ~~ Video of Amma/YoonJi/Naomi shopping. ❤ eeel, eeeel. So cute!