Thursday, July 9, 2009

이번주와 주말...

I'm glad to be busy lately. I'm trying to teach a private lesson 2x a week. I actually enjoy it. My student is very eager to learn and its easier to see the difference you are making when you have 1 student to focus on, instead of having 33 students in a class, or having 420 students that you teach. I only know two of my students' names! (In my defense, korean names are hard to remember and I don't ever have to use their names for role call or anything). So the private lesson is enjoyable, and its so relaxed because her mother gives me amazing food and always lots of tasty beverages and fruits.

I also have two hours of Korean language class at the hagwon (a private academy). There is only one other student, so I learn alot. Its on the exact opposite side of town (considering that there are about 20 foriegners in Gimcheon, it makes sense that this is the only Korean language class being offered). So I spend as much time and money travelling to the class as I do taking it. And the homework is pretty thorough. I've been writing diary entries that give me good practice.

I've been going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. I can notice the difference... and thus I'm becoming even more narcissistic. But it's good to feed the ego sometimes, I think.

Tonight was the first meeting for summer camps. I showed up late and didn't have any choice in co-teachers for the camp. One of my Korean friends is doing the camp so I wanted to teach with her. Or maybe one of the beautiful, young women. But I got the only male co-teacher. Just my luck!

Actually, the summer camp thing started out as a real disaster. Someone told me about it so I asked my friend how I can get more information. So she gave my contact info to the Office of Education so that they could contact me. But this isn't America; It's Korea. So instead of contacting me they just signed me up for it, because they didnt have enough volunteers among native teachers and they had no more time to fill the spots. Ok... I guess I can see that logic. The real problem was that they didn't contact me or my school about it at all. So they didn't know that my school already had me scheduled to teach. And nobody likes being told what to do at the last minute when they have to complete shuffle their freshly laid plans. Furthermore, they tried to blame it on a misunderstanding ("Your friend told us you wanted to join, so it was her mistake not ours. So we can't remove you now, even though we just told you about it. It's too late. If you want to get out of it you need to find someone to replace you within the next three hours.... but that'll be pretty impossible because we've already asked every native teacher in the city. By the way, we have an important meeting today at 4:00pm. Oh, you teach class until 5:10pm?? Well, I guess we would have known that had we bothered to contact you at all...") Ok... so that was obviously a paraphrase (and a quite biased one, at that), but you get the idea.

So, in summary, it was handled quite poorly. I don't like being told what to do, and I especially don't like being lied to. I had a chance to broach this topic at todays meeting and they basically said "we need you, but we are sorry that we didn't contact you about this." I didn't find out I was teaching at the camp until they faxed it to my school around 12:00pm.

So, I'm quite excited for the camp, even though it is far from ideal. I've known I was going to do it for all of ten hours now. I've been misled, bullied, and flat out lied to. I have a co-teacher that has a wealth of ideas and experience but it was quite frustrating because his English is so bad that we had to move at about 10% speed. My students have better English (well, maybe 20% of my students). But we have some fun activities planned. The camp is for elementary school! So I'm excited to try that. The kids will be so enthusiastic and energetic. Sometimes my high school boys are so worn out from being over-worked and sleep deprived, or they think they are too cool to do something. And I only need to plan one lesson for the week (each teacher will plan one and share). So I planned 4 hours. Half of it is about Halloween and half is acting and role-playing. And all of the material (a typed up lesson plan, 8 pages of worksheets and info to put into the workbook, stories about Halloween and the Ugly Duckling, video clips, flashcards, 2 powerpoints, and one or two other things I'm forgetting now but I hope I don't forget later (haha).

Also, my co-teacher thinks I should prepare all of the materials because he is too busy to do it. I know he is married and probably has kids, and that he is working on a 70-page paper for an English writing contest, but he works at an elementary school that finishes at 2:30 every day. Whereas I never leave work before 5:20. In fact, he doesn't know anything about my situation at all other than that I finish at 5:20, so I'm not sure why he assumed I can do it all. After finishing the planning today, I went to the gym, came home to do laundry and cook/eat dinner. I didn't finish until close to 12. So, I haven't had time to start at all. Half of the material is due on Friday (at another 4:00 meeting, argh!).

So, for one week this summer I will be teaching 4 hours at the elementary school every day. Then I have a little over an hour to get transportation to my high school and eat lunch before teaching for 3+ more hours. Teaching 5 hours in a day can be draining, so 7 should be interesting! But I'm so excited because I will have a class of 20 students. I will have them for 20 hours in that week, so I can get to know my students well and we can do alot of fun activities that I cant do at high school. Furthermore, it gives me another chance to evolve my teaching skills because I'll have a new co-teacher and I'll get to use lessons made by other teachers. Of course, I'm getting rewarded for my efforts. For the 8 pages of material I will get about $80, I will get $85 for transportation costs, and I get paid $16 extra for every hour I go over the 22 hours of teaching per week on my contract. So, maybe I'll make a few hundred extra dollars that week. That can make for an interesting trip in Japan this summer.... or ONE CRAZY NIGHT IN JAPAN.... hahah

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