I'm sitting outside of a Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, and a Starbucks (unfortunately I did go with a corporate for some coffee). There's not too much roughing it. It's a beautiful Tuesday morning about 7:30am. It's not overcast (that usually rolls in around 3pm), it's about 70ish, and there's a nice breeze. The perfect day to be docing my journey outside. I realize that I've talked about my experiences thus far, but I haven't talked about my job, the reason why I'm here.
The school - It's great. Like I've said it's 2 minutes from my apartment. I don't have to be at work till 2pm, so literally I could pretty much roll out of bed, and walk across the street. Which would be convenient if I drank like a fish like most everyone else around here does, but I don't. So I wake up usually around 8am. Which means that I've got to find a gym STAT! I stray - I get to work at 2, and meet with the teachers that I'm working with. There are about 10 Korean teachers, and their job is to actually teach English grammar to the kids. I find out what I need to be doing and what I need to review with the kids. I go to the classroom which holds no more than 11 students. That is the most that any teacher has.
The ages vary as well. Some of the classes are youngsters, where they don't know a lick of English. Those aren't so bad. They usually don't say anything if I ask them a question. But if I tell them to repeat after me, they will. The next level are the 3 graders or so. They really are my worst class. It's so hard to get them to settle down. Granted the class is only for 50 minutes, but it seems like a very long 50 minutes. Most of the time I just end up talking to myself. Oh! And since this is an English class, they can only speak English so if I hear them speaking Korean, they get an X by their name - 3 X's and you're out. It's promoting the kids to speak English using the baseball system.
The next grades aren't so bad, 5-6. When I get down on their level it's very easy to relate to them. All I really have to do is make an ass out of myself. Which isn't very difficult. Like I said, most of the time I read and they repeat after me. Sometimes with this level of students, I'll stray and talk about some synonyms or some random fact. They aren't too bad. The thing that I've noticed is that most of them speak quietly. I know that the school wants to build their confidence, so another key element that I push in class is to speak up. Respond to me. I don't want them to be afraid to talk.
The next levels are very smart. They can read and write on their own, so with them it's not so much a matter of say this after me. I try to connect the dots with them. Give them abstract ideas and see if they can follow them. On Friday's at 6:10 I have one student that's in the 9th grade. She's incredibly bright and wants to become a teacher or a doctor.
All around it's a great job. I really enjoy it. There are the little brats, but what kid isn't a brat at one point or another in their life? For the most part, the kids are great. They are nothing like the kids in the U.S. They want to learn and strive to speak better English. There are the stereotypical types of kids that I see that I see in the U.S. The nerd, the suck up, the quiet awkward kid, and so on. So it's interesting that no matter in which country, those stereotypes do exist. But, it's made me appreciate and love teaching in a way that I thought I never could.