It's a new year and been a few months since I posted.
I'm out of Seoul and in a smaller city called Ulsan. It's population is maybe 1/2 of the twin cities, but spread out over much much more area. Also, all of the Hyundai factories and offices are in this town, so it's pretty much Hyundai-ville. There are Hyundai bus routes for employees. There are Hyundai supermarkets, culture centers, and department stores. And I heard if u get married in Ulsan, Hyundai will give you $500 or something.
I've really enjoyed my first 6 days here. The other teachers at my school seem cool, even though they are working overtime a lot to get all of the things ready for the new school year (teaching materials, bus routes, attendance sheets, classroom decorations, student workbooks, the list goes on).
My highlight of the week has been the kindergarten students. Since they are still getting used to going to school instead of being home with mom, we don't have English class with them this week. Instead, I'm just going to my homeroom kindergarten class with Yoon Ga-young teacher and playing with the kids in English for a couple hours. They all kinda just do their own thing but they like it when I play with them. One girl named Linda always sneaks up behind me and gives me hugs.
Anyhow, I got my first kiss today ! It was from an adorable 6-year old named Alisa. She came up to me and whispered in my ear "I love you, Matt teacher" and gave me a kiss on the cheek while I was reading a story with some of the boys. I love you too, Alisa! She was so cute the first day of class... she had a sling on her arm and she started crying because it hurt. But then we sat her down next to me and she stopped crying.
Today was my 2nd day of class with elementary students. Each class is a bit of a different dynamic, because they are different age groups. With the 5th and 6th graders, they think they are too cool to do some things. But the class is only 7 students and they are quiet and listen to me well. My other classes are about 14 students each, so I'm spending half of my classtime just disciplining them this week. On the first day I had to send one student out in the hall because he kept speaking Korean and it was distracting everyone. The class was so much better after he was out of it !
Also, there is one song where they like to change the words (this material is a bit too easy for them. They can already read and know a lot of vocabulary, but their grammar is bad so they need to start from the early levels). So instead of singing "Do you like red? Yes, I do!" they will sing something like "Do you like gold? No, I dont!" and they think its hilarious each time. I took some advice from another teacher today and when they started acting out I'd just stop the song midway. So we didn't finish the red song... but when I came back to it literally 10 minutes later they sang it correctly.
I really like all of the students so far. I can empathize with the bad students because some of these songs are not that fun, especially the 10th or 20th time you sing them. Actually I like their version better. The students that have bad behavior are a product of bad parenting or bad teachers. So it might take a while, but I'll turn them into good students. Its just a bit hard when there are 14 kids in a classroom that is smaller than a master bathroom.
Ulsan is great so far. I like my job and I'm just trying to make more friends. I might go to the dance class tomorrow (k-pop and k-hip hop dance) if I can get off and get there before 7pm. Its about a 40 minute bus ride away and I finish my last class at 6pm.