Don't get me wrong: I love my school. The teachers are awesome, the students are great, and I have a great office and classroom. But as a brand new teacher, my only qualification being my disposition to speak English with an American accent (and sure, a week of EPIK training), I'm kinda overwhelmed. I feel like I was just thrown into the deep end of the pool on my first day of swim class. During my first week here, without having ever developed a lesson plan in my life, my co-teacher asked me for an entire year's worth.
The actual teaching isn't what has been bothering me - it's the prospect of coming up with challenging yet entertaining lessons every week for an entire year. It's easy to entertain elementary or middle school students with songs or clapping games or bathroom jokes. High schoolers are not only more advanced (at least, they SHOULD be), they are disinterested in everything having to do with school. They are so over it. I've had luck so far because I'm still a novelty in my school. But my smile and gnarly beard can only carry me so far.
Maybe this is a simple "grass-is-greener" sort of feeling. Middle school students can be hellions, so I hear. High schoolers, on the other hand, are often too tired to give me any sort of trouble. They stay at school until 10pm or later, even on the weekends, so it's not unusual for them to nod off multiple times during class.
But I don't just want to supervise 50 minutes of nap time; I do actually want to help them improve their English. I could easily keep them entertained by showing "Pirates of the Caribbean" (a Korean fave) over three weeks, but they'd get very little out of it.
In the end, I have to admit, almost all of the pressure put on me is my own. The students don't really care one way or the other, and the teachers have given me free rein to lead the class in any direction I see fit. I don't have much room for complaint, or even worry. I'm in a pretty damn good place.
Well...thanks for listening.
Here are some pictures of my school and classroom:
My school and parking lot.
The courtyard. During lunch break some students play badminton here.
The office I share with my co-teacher, Soon Yung, and Miss Yoon. Mine is the desk without any books on it.
The doors to my classroom. Dream Big Make it!
My classroom. Two flat-panel HDTVs, two projectors, about 20 laptops and five desktops for student use, a document projector, DVD player, and surround sound.
Cool light patterns in the hallway on the way to the cafeteria.
The school's clay tennis court for teacher use. On Monday Mr. Gwun, the Chinese Characters teacher and one of my favorites, invited me to join some teachers for a doubles match. In spite of my miraculous improvement over the course of the game, the PE teacher and I lost in a tie-break.