Well, I've been here officially 2.5 weeks and I'm loving it. I'm learning Korean and things are going really well at work! I didn't know that Korean (elementary school) English teachers aren't required to know English haha. So that's been an experience. English learning here is a foreign language, not a second one, so most of the class is taught in Korean. Hey, it is what it is!
I teach 5th and 6th grades. The 5th graders are amazing and great, so dedicated and cute. The 6th graders are....a nightmare, as they talk (not quietly) in class during the lessons and are just generally nonchalant about everything, but I pin it on us not having a lot of room for creativity with the curriculum, as they all are basically working towards standardized tests all the time. Lame!
I'm taking Korean classes, and I'm picking it up pretty quickly. I've got a decent handle on the alphabet, which is of the utmost importance. I mean, charades will get you a long way, but it's so much nicer being able to communicate. I can practice reading everywhere I go though, which is great! Yet I feel super silly doing that, as I feel just like I'm little again haha I haven't had to deal with being illiterate since first grade!!
Other interesting things about Korean life
- You can't flush toilet paper, you have to throw it away.
- McDonald's delivers on a scooter.
- Good luck finding cheese.
- People will stare at you. All the time.
- People will also compliment you on the most random things. I've been told that I have a small face, that I'm "very active", that I'm "diligent." Korean compliments, gotta love em.
- The trash system is no joke. There are few (and I mean like 3) public trash cans. And at home, you have to separate recycle from non-recycle and food waste, and then go to the sorting facility in the basement and sort it out yourself. It's cool but also bahh!
- Driving here is insane. Scooters drive on the sidewalk, sometimes cars park on the sidewalk, sometimes they park on street corners at an intersection, like it doesn't make any sense haha. But that's Korea for you!
Driving in Korea, not for the faint of heart!
I have my little "foreign family" which is great, it's so wonderful to have a group of people to share the ups and downs with. And, no offense to my co-teachers, it's great to be able to speak in English without having to think about it. I'm petitioning to get an after school drama club started, as a good way for the kids to get to know me better and for them to have a space to come out of their shells a bit (99.9% of my students, and perhaps Koreans in general, are almost absurdly shy). Plus it's got music, dancing, costumes, woooo! Could be great!
Chuseok holiday is upon us, so I'm off to Seoul tomorrow night. Let's see what else Korea is cookin up for me.
Until next time!