Monday, April 14, 2014

What's Happened So Far: Part 1

I have seriously been lazy with the blog updates... and the picture taking. That's one thing everyone told me to do when I got here. "Take a lot of pictures."


So, after half a week in training, a weekend in Seoul and being told yesterday that I would be desk-warming today, I decided it was about time that I updated my blog. FINALLY.

I've already been at my school for over a month now. Time has gone by a lot faster than I thought it would. When I first arrived here, during that first week at EPIK orientation, I was very unsure of myself. I'd be in bed, my head resting on the drinking straw filled pillow (pretty much what it was), when suddenly a thought would pop into my head: "I can't do this. Why did I think I could do this?"

I felt even more nervous after the lesson demonstrations at the end of orientation. Our evaluator had basically nothing but praise for the other girl in my group, while I was told I had an "angry face". This was probably true, but only because he had also told me I had a small voice and kept turning towards me when he was giving criticism. So, understandably I felt singled out and upset.

Then I get to my school the next day. At this point, I feel like they're going to take one look at my teaching style and change their minds. Surely, I'm going to do something wrong and they'll send me home. I'll do something taboo, offend the principal, look unprofessional -- take your pick.

And then I met my co-workers.  

I've never felt more taken care of by a group of strangers in my life. I got food, clothes, teaching materials, supplies... Here I am worrying about making them happy when they are concerned that I feel comfortable. I feel really blessed to have the co-workers that I do. We are still developing our relationship, but I feel more comfortable than I thought I would.

As for my classes, once I got through the first-time jitters, I did pretty well. There are definitely off days (and our 5th graders are just plain rowdy), and I'm still learning but I have realized that I shouldn't take so much of what the evaluator said to heart. My co-teachers tell me that I have a good teacher voice and that I'm a good teacher. I think I just do better in front of kids than in front of a group of my fellow peers.

And then in-service training began...

These training sessions are supposed to make you feel pumped up to teach, right? There were a lot of helpful tips and information provided, yes, but I felt like I was going through that emotional roller-coaster of ineptitude once again. AKA "High School: The in-service training edition".

It was during training that I remembered just how much of an introvert I am, and how much the majority of the other EPIK teachers are not. I got tired of making conversation after the first day, and was completely NOT up to participating in most of the game demonstrations in our last class.

I hate to sound like such a sourpuss, but it just wasn't a pleasant experience. It was like I'd entered a black hole. I'd start to say something and then realize no one was actually listening to me. They'd already turned to someone else, and the conversation I thought I'd been having was apparently dropped already. Oops.


At least I had a fun weekend after that, which I'll get into for my next blog update. I might have desk-warming time on my hands right now, but this post is already long enough. Thanks for reading!


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