Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Recap! The EPIK Teacher Edition

Hi Guys! I can log into my blog again, yay! Okay, so I forgot to change the security settings on my gmail account, so that's why I couldn't log in for a while. Fun, fun.

I have been at my new school for about a week and a half now. First week -- no lessons. This week, I've taught Grad 4, 5 and preschoolers. To be honest, the preschoolers were the most fun to be around even though I meet with them at the end of the day and I'm just about ready for a break by then. The teacher wanted me to sing a "Hello" song, which I totally blanked on. I don't know any "Hello" songs and I was suddenly too nervous just to make something up.

So, next time I'm going to be ready with a song. Let's hope I don't get too nervous though!

Before I get too deep into all of this, I need to play a little catch-up. I've been away for so long so.... Recap!

EPIK Orientation -- Think high school almost, but condensed. Scary, right? Or awesome, if you were one of those "high school glory days" peeps. You have about a week to find people you mesh with, learn some tips and tricks of the EPIK teacher trade and occasionally panic from all the info dumping. I met some cool people, had a lot of awkward moments with others and by the end of the week I was ready to lock myself in a room for an introvert day.

Which brings me to my new apartment, new school and new everything else...

I live in a studio apartment about 15 minutes walking distance from the elementary school I teach at now. I have 2 co-teachers, who I will refer to at YS and JS for future posts. YS has been an English teacher before, and has been a co-teacher before. JS is new to the school, new to being an English teacher and therefore new to being a co-teacher.


Okay, so I have to say there are things about Korean schools I like. I like that teachers get rotated from one school to another after so many odd years. I like that the staff are a kind-of mini community (which includes staff dinners and team building activities).

What I don't like is the fact that teachers are expected to rotate SUBJECTS. When I first heard this I was really, really confused. One of my office-mates is a PE teacher for the first time this year and, like I said, my co-teacher JS has never taught English before. Her English isn't that bad, but I can practically feel the struggle she is going through to communicate with me as well as the students.

So, I feel sorry for these teachers. I don't know how much thought is put into who gets transferred where (do they do interviews, look at entrance exam scores, what?), but I know that both co-workers mentioned are feeling a little panicked from the new experience. Poor JS.

Now... Outside of school stuff -- I couldn't get my heat to work the first night I moved into my new apartment. Neither could a co-worker who came over, but co-teacher YS came the next day to help meet the maintenance guy and so I only went without heat for about 1 day, which wasn't too bad.

I rode my first metro bus in Korea just this past Sunday when going to church. I got a little turned around, but made it to the church building safely. One of the missionaries was kind enough to translate for me, and then told me about a semi-English speaking session recently organized just 10 minutes away. So, I'll try to find that next Sunday. I also know which bus to take to get to an E-mart, so great experience.

That's it for this blog post. I have a lot to share, but this is already getting really long. Thanks for reading!

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