30 Day Challenge: Day 21

What Three Lessons Do You Want Your Children to Learn From You?

If and when I have children, the following are three things that I would hope to instill in them.

  1. Be Yourself – I am very grateful that, growing up, my mom was very supportive of my often alternative interests. I would definitely want to teach my children to throw stereotypes out the window and do whatever makes them happy. That includes personal aesthetic, interests and hobbies, religion, sexual orientation, whatever. If my kid wants to be a green-haired, guitar-playing, Buddhist pansexual: go for it. I’m going to love them just as much.
  2. Be Honest – It’s cliche, but honesty truly is the best policy. Lies will always find their way back to you. Whether it’s telling your parent that you’re at a friend’s house when you’re really at a party or padding your accomplishments/resume to get into a better school. I feel like lying could potentially evolve into other negative behavior, so it’s best to avoid it all together and just tell the truth!
  3. Be Kind/Considerate – Everyone has feelings and you should always take them into consideration. I think it’s also very important to try and understand why someone may be feeling a particular way. Was it something that you did? Something that someone else did? As a super emotional person, I always find that talking about what I’m feeling can help others to understand why, even if it may seem irrational to them. Everyone is entitled to their feelings.

Also, if anyone would like to do this challenge with me, it can be found here.

On My Own

Today was my first day teaching classes on my own. Kind of crazy since I received no actual training and have no prior experience. I was given a class schedule as well as a list of which books to use for each class. That was pretty much it. I guess this is the way of the hagwon.

The previous teacher did write me a detailed list of each class, told me a bit about the students, and what he usually did for lesson planning. That was really nice of him, although some direction from the management would have been nice. As soon as I sat down at my desk, the head teacher plopped a stack of journals in front of me without so much as a word. The assumption was to grade them, which I did.

Today, I had seven classes and one one hour tutoring session with two students. I’ll have the same schedule again on Thursday. The books are relatively self-explanatory. For my first classes, I also brought some post cards which had pictures of the Jersey Shore to show the kids. I asked them to introduce themselves and tell me something they like to do during the summer. Then, I introduced myself, told them that I love going to the beach, and passed around the post cards. I then told them a little about the Jersey Shore. They really seemed to like the pictures.

I had one class of elementary students that I really, really enjoyed. They were eager to talk, but didn’t get rowdy. They also listened to me. I had them work in pairs and do dialogues. Before I left, one little girl shouted “teacher! teacher!” I turned and she said “this is for you” and handed me a rice bun from her snack bag. It was quite possibly the most adorable thing I’ve ever experienced and it melted my heart. The rice bun was also delicious!

I only had one class that was difficult to deal with. There were four students and two didn’t have the book, so I had to make photo copies. One boy who sat in the front threw my post cards at the other students as well as the board eraser. He refused to listen and participate during the lesson. It was really frustrating.

I finally got home and I’m absolutely exhausted. Bed soon!

Have you ever worked at or are currently working at a hagwon? Share your experiences with me!

First Day!

Today was my first day at school! I got to shadow one of the co-teachers, Nick, during his classes. There are a lot, but they only last 35 minutes each. There are plenty of breaks throughout the day for preparing lessons, as well. My school also has a planned curriculum and many different text books and work books. The American teacher whose place I’m taking (Peter) was really good at going through each class with me and gave me a general idea how to use the books and work through the lessons.

First day selfie!

First day selfie!

I’ll have students from beginner elementary level to more advanced middle school level. All the kids are very cute. From sitting in the back and observing, I got to see that some are really interested in learning English, while others are not. I guess that’s to be expected, though. Many of the students were willing to participate. Some were very shy, and there was only one I saw that was legitimately disruptive.

During the dinner break, Peter and I grabbed a snack and a coffee. There is a very prominent coffee culture here and there can be three, four, or five coffee shops right next to each other! It’s a wonder how they don’t put each other out of business. The one we went to was very nice. I ordered a frappuccino and actually watched the barista brew espresso to put in it. It was exponentially better than any frappuccino I’ve ever had at Starbucks – and probably with way less calories and preservatives.

We got back to the school and many of the teachers had to administer tests to their classes. I awkwardly sat by myself in the office for a while. The only thing I really didn’t like was that the native Korean teachers didn’t go out of there way at all to introduce themselves or talk to me or anything. It was mildly off-putting.

Regardless, I am excited to go back tomorrow. I’ll be on my own for my classes, so I guess I’m diving right in!

Thinking About Teaching Materials

Lately, I’ve been thinking about things I’d like to bring with me as teaching aids. The school I’m going to be teaching at has its own set of textbooks and curriculum, but when I spoke to the other American teacher there he did say that there would be room for spicing up lesson plans/activities/whatnot.

So, I spent my afternoon in Staples the other day ogling stickers and flash cards and posters. Things are so much nicer now than when I was in elementary school! I really just wanted to buy armfuls of stuff, but there is only going to be so much room in my suitcase.

Here are my questions: What materials did you bring with you to teach abroad, if any? What do you wish you hadn’t brought? Talk about what was most fun/effective for students.