Monday fun-day

Back to life. Back to reality.

The first weekend spent in my new city came and went in the blink of an eye.

On Friday night I learned that I live extremely close to the token foreign bar in Yeosu. In attending trivia there I met slews of foreigners from all parts of this province including a few fellow Midwesterners! Saturday was a rainy one spent skyping, eating and movie going. Late in the evening I had the opportunity to meet up with an English couple that I had met originally in my previous city the first time around. Although we had only met 2 brief times over 14 months ago, we were able to catch up over soju and Korean bbq. We spent all of Sunday exploring the ’12 Yeosu Expo grounds and adjourning island. After a night of laundry I was thoroughly knackered.

The school week begins at 8:30AM Monday morning for the teachers at Yesou Middle School. All academic faculty (40-50 people) gathers in the main office, a space crisscrossed with cubical dividers and interspersed with 3 large green kitchen tables each with a comfortable capacity of 8. Although it is my 4th day on the job, and  I spend a good portion of my time in this office I still see many new faces.

The vice principle’s secretary hands out sheets of paper filled with busy hangul (Korean text). In my distraction of all the lines and circles I miss the cue to stand as one and face the flag. By the time I decide that it would probably be appropriate for me to put my hand over my heart it is apparently already time to sit down. My eyes wander back to the agenda as the principle addresses the masses. They don’t wander long before Nuna utters my name from across the room. All eyes on me.

Ah, I see.

I am expected to stand next to the principle at the front of the room.

I knew this would be coming but did not know it would be the first point on the agenda. I come prepared with suit (freshly laundered and ironed), tie and fancy chocolate. I stand facing my colleagues as the big man reads off my credentials. When he finishes I take it as my cue to bow and give a piece about my gratitude. It sure is getting warm in here for November!? I cut to the chase and pass out the boxes of chocolate (apologizing for bringing Pepero Day one too early). In a moment that feels particularly Korean to me the room erupts in applause. These guys are stoked about chocolate. Nuna translates (and undoubtably embellishes) my short introduction.

I take my seat and lay low as other faculty members bring up various topics and points of interest. It isn’t 20 minutes before the meeting is adjourned. I hastily throw my ppt. onto a jump drive and rush off to my 9:00AM class.

Today is the first day that I won’t be traveling from class to class. I am looking forward to the opportunity to stay stationary and teach from my own space. Every “plus” seems to come paired with a “negative”. My USB doesn’t work on my classroom computer. After 45min of my famous “off the cuff” teaching I am granted a break. I take the opportunity to prepare my teachers workshop which I am to facilitate after lunch. Time elapses much too fast and its back to class. My ppt. still doesn’t work. There is no wifi so I am unable to email or dropbox the materials from my laptop to my new (dysfunctional) desktop. At least I have a 3 min. youtube video waiting in the wings…

Its already lunchtime. Today is the first that I am able to head there with Nuna. I sit between her, another English teacher and one of the school counselors who has great English speaking ability. The meal is filled with fairly effortless communication.

Already it is time for my teachers workshop. I introduce myself then give the 5 other teachers the opportunity to fill out simple worksheets and introduce themselves. The idea is that we would end the class with “two truths and a lie”. I am informed all the teachers know one another extremely well and that Koreans are incapable of lying. No game it is. Apart from Nuna, the school counselor from lunch and another English teacher, there at two others. The home economics teacher (these boys have home ec!?) and one of the science teachers. Apart from getting denied lessons on how to knit the class goes fairly smoothly (It wraps up around the time the Packers wrap up their glorious defeat over the Bears).

Nuna calls off the second hour of teachers workshop so my structured workday is effectively finished.

As a young kid I recall having a short list of achievements that I should attain as an adult. First and foremost is having my own space – no bedtimes, no need to pick my Legos up off the floor. Second is to have an area of my own at work. This must be complete with personal copies of keys and state-of-the-art technology. Last is any “toy” I desire. Of the more reasonable goals listed, I think I can safely say I’ve met my requirements.

I have made it.

Maybe they will let me stick around? Just as long as I don’t loose my set of classroom keys or break my smart-board…


One response to this post.

  1. Gotta love “off the cuff” teaching. All too often I find that I prepare a stellar lesson only to have my co-teacher tell me as I’m walking to my class that she actually finished that chapter and today’s lesson is from a different book!


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