Saturday, September 24, 2011

My School

[Ed. note (6/27/12): Working in a hagwon can be very stressful. Please forgive the, uh, "testy" tone of this post.]

Prior to signing a contract with a hagwon, it is wise to request a phone conversation with one of their current foreign teachers. I neglected to do this. 

I showed up at school on a Monday morning. I shook hands with my co-workers and sat down in the break room.

"So, how do you like this place?"

A silence. They exchanged glances.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Afternoon

I've written a lot here about kindergarten, but really that's only half of my day. Elementary schools let out right as kindergarten ends, and before we can even get Robinson & co. out the door our halls are swarming with a whole new batch of kids. These later classes are much shorter than kindergarten, take place less often, and in general have less emphasis placed on them by the administration.* But still they happen, and it's high time we gave them their due.

*From what I understand our school makes most of its money off kindergarten, with the afternoon classes serving as something of a bonus. 

I teach four classes in the afternoon.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Three Months In: State of the Union

I'm one-fourth through the year, which is pretty nuts. In most ways I feel like I just got here. I still know basically nothing about this place. Wanna know something about the South Korean government? That sucks, because I don't know anything. I think they have a Prime Minister.

Still, it hasn't gone by in a flash. I'm so acclimated at this point that in some ways America seems like a long time ago. Thirteen weeks. That feels about right.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Picture Post

I try to keep the posts light on pictures, but what the hell.


I was hoping to return to America with a new shirt or two, shirts that would announce to others "my adventure-filled life is far sexier than yours." But it hasn't worked out the way I wanted.

The clothes here have... a lot going on. Drawings, stripes, crazy designs. And you will not find any shirts with Korean characters on them. Everything -- I repeat, everything -- is in English.

In general, the shirts come in three varieties.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Green Class Update


Green Class got a new student a few weeks ago, a little gal by the name of Gemma.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Citizens of the World

I work with eight other teachers. Two are dudes, six are girls. Aside from one of the guys (who's a bit older), everyone is in their mid-twenties. I'm the second-youngest person.

The co-worker situation is as good as I could have hoped. Everyone has been really supportive. Whenever I have a question (all the fucking time), they generously pause their day to answer it. We hang out on weekends. It's a really solid crew.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Living in South Korea: Early Impressions

YAY: No tipping. 

As in some other countries, tipping here is viewed as something of an insult. Takes some getting used to. This meal costs...what it costs? That can't be right.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Field Trips, pt. 1

At our school, there's a different activity for every day of the week. Monday is Arts and Crafts. Tuesday is Show and Tell. Wednesday is (supposed to be) AV Club. Thursday is Science. And on Fridays we go on field trips.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Morning

I show up at school and spend a minute or two straightening my classroom.

Robinson and J arrive.* I make a big show of excitement and hug both. Robinson looks extremely happy to see me. J looks happy.

*I am sad to report that Sarah never got over her fear and has now left the school. I miss her and wish we had toughed it out together. Grace is still there, every day, and is starting to get a lot better. Still sobs her little soul out for large portions of the morning but can now spend brief periods in the classroom with me as long as a Korean woman stays by her side. Baby steps.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Training

Moving to a new country takes some work. One benefit of all the preparation is that it keeps your mind occupied, and stops you from dwelling for too long on any concerns you might be harboring about the trip. Like, for instance, whether you've accepted a job you are totally unqualified to do.