Sunday, November 28, 2010

Your Yet Again Late Update

It's been a rough couple of weeks.

Once again, I sum up:

-Got my right ring finger stomped on. It was only a sprain and some bruising, but it HURT.

-The books I've been using for the Book Club level classes are apparently too hard. These are, of course, the books I was given and told to use for the classes, but it's my fault anyway because I didn't realize that the students didn't understand the material. Even though I don't speak enough Korean to understand when kids say things like "I don't get it!" :P

-Month 2 is coming up, and over half of my classes need different lesson plans than I'd originally made. Thankfully, we don't need to submit the written lesson plans anymore. We just give the office a monthly syllabus with the materials and some of the main activities we'll cover, and then submit a "lesson summary" at the end of the week containing anything we did in the class. Sort of like writing the lesson plan after the fact. Sort of. I still feel like I'm going to be scrambling around a lot until I find my feet with this new system.

-Got poked in the eye by the same class that stomped on my finger. With the sharp corner of a flashcard. I have learned to round all the corners on my flashcards now. No lasting damage, thankfully.

-Didn't get any sort of proper dinner on Thanksgiving, much less a turkey dinner, and wound up paying 7,000 won for a couple bites of rice, a small piece of chicken, and a piece of pork from a dish that I realized belatedly contained cinnamon. Was violently ill afterward from allergies and probably food poisoning.

-Bought some new boots and a couple of warmer winter outfits for reasonable prices. Clothes from eMart and boots from a little shop in Itaewon that carried my size. Win!

-Got enough bedding and household items to probably last me the rest of the year. Only need a small saucepan now and I'm pretty well set.

-Made my first student loan payment today! Feels good to be able to start paying those off again.

That pretty much covers it. Off to make something for dinner now.



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Long Overdue Post

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Cookies to whomever catches the reference.)

I started my first day of Library Program classes and NaNoWriMo on the same day, November 1st. This, naturally, ate up all of my free time, so I haven't really had the time or energy to write a blog post. Here are the main highlights from the past couple of weeks:

-I teach 5 different levels of classes (it'll be 6 next semester). Book Buddy, Book Nanny, Book Coach (which I don't teach yet), Book Club 1, Book Club 2, and Book Club 3, in order from lowest to highest level. So, I've got kids from tiny kindergartners to middle school kids with a pretty decent grasp of English.

-My classroom has no phone, and the computer is not networked to the rest of our school's computers, because I'm working out of one of the library rooms on the 3rd floor rather than the 2nd floor with the rest of the school. This makes contacting the office for problems like missing students (I've had a class where nobody showed up, and a few where only one student showed up), naughty students (I've been punched in the crotch by a 5-year-old), or parents with questions (I don't speak more than a handful of words in Korean) very difficult to deal with. I lean on my co-teacher, Nana, for a lot of it, but she has her own classes to teach so I always hate to bother her.

-Most of the kids are pretty good. Some are way below the level of English they need to be in the class, a very few are too advanced, but most are just about right. I've had some real sweethearts that brought me Pepero (it's like Korean Pocky) on Pepero Day (November 11th is a marketing holiday-- it's like Valentine's Day, but in November, because 11-11 looks like sticks of Pepero). I have kids that say "Hello, Teacher!" when they see me outside of class.

-On the other hand, I've had a couple of rough patches. First week was chaos, with students arriving so late to classes it almost wasn't worth checking them off the attendance sheet. A few misunderstandings with the lesson plans tripped me up, and the lack of communications with the office made my job infinitely more difficult. I've also had a few problem students. A pair of brothers in my Book Club 2 class that aren't even remotely good enough at English to be in that class and disrupt the rest of the students by yakking loudly in Korean the entire time; a little girl in my Book Buddy class that thinks it's funny to hit me and the other kids; and several little boys in Book Buddy that aren't actually old enough to be in my class, but their mothers signed them up anyway, and they have no concept of respecting a teacher (especially a female one, as Megan from the office explained to me, and THAT pissed me off even more than their other behavior problems) because they should still be in daycare or preschool, NOT a kindergarten-level English class.

-Second week of classes was much smoother. I've got a good idea of how to use my time better for lesson planning and materials preparation. I know where I'm supposed to be and when most of the time. I've got a better handle on what does and does not work in the classroom. I'm starting to remember some names.

-PAYDAY FINALLY HAPPENED. I have money now. I can stop living off of instant soups and rice. I bought a clothing rack for drying clothes in the winter, more kitchenware, a winter coat, and more bedding. I'm going to pick up a table and chairs this evening. I can even send money home to start paying off my student loans! YAY!

-I finally took the subway today. I went to Itaewon, met a couple of different people from Dave's ESL cafe to pick up a winter coat and bedding set, and bought the new Stephen King book from the great English language book store there. Itaewon also has footwear in my size! I'll definitely be going back for rain boots, unless I can find some around here. I might fit men's boots...

That's about it for now. Going to go pick up my dining set shortly here, then bust my hump writing up lesson plans for the next 2 weeks. Then, if I have time tonight, I can work on my novel, which is falling woefully behind. I'll probably do a 5-6k-words, 3 hour writing stint tonight if I've got time for it.



P.S. There are these little underground tunnels in Anyang you can use to cross the streets. I went down one today by mistake, thinking it was a subway station. Durp. XD Anyway, they had some neat artwork there. Here's me as an angel! (Click the pic to see the original version.)