Bimonthly Recap

I have been working and living in Yeosu-si South Korea for exactly 2 months now. Although Korea is not new to me, this school, this age demographic, this city and even this province all are. I am a sporadic writer with an interest in being comprehensive. I also have trouble being concise. These truths don’t bode well together. Instead of trying to fill all the gaps between my previous posts, I am going to simply lay out some lessons I have learned over these 2 months.

Lessons learned: 

  • If you forget the keys to the English lab, there is a second set in the main office. Be warned, acquiring them is a time commitment.
  • Toilet paper is nonexistent in academic building 4, it must be sourced in building 1.
  • While most public sinks in Korea only produce cold water, the one on the left in the men’s faculty washroom has hot water.
  • It is appropriate to take food as well as dishes from the dinning hall.
  • Murphy’s Law is real. The day you choose to wear an un-tucked flannel and blast pop music while editing photos and stuffing your face, is also the first and only day the Vice Principle pays a visit to the far-flung-always-forgotten-English-Lab with the provincial academic director in-tow.
  • School lunches are no longer something to dread.
  • A room exists at Yeosu Middle School that is accessible only to the male faculty (There is a females’ version as well). It is complete with a kitchenette, bed and heater. The question is, when is it appropriate to use this haven?
  • Classroom windows must be opened even in the dead of winter to “change” the air. Whats wrong with the warm air?
  • While my small private academy last year had 3 industrial paper cutters, my large public middle school has none. 315 worksheets must be cut in-half with either an exact-o-knife or scissors.
  • Korean middle school boys can be fairly violent towards one another. They can also be surprisingly gentle and affectionate. (via the school talent show I also learned that they can make for convincing girls as well)
  • It does in fact snow in Yeosu and its even capable of “accumulating”. Well for a few hours at least…

This 2 month recap is timely. The semester has ended, winter break has already begun for students, and we are almost a week into the new year. Today was the first of my 2 weeks of winter camp before I am free to take my 2 week holiday to the Philippines. I look forward to the time away but am also eager to see what lessons the new year hold!


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Barb Baumgartner on January 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    It sounds like things are going fairly well!


  2. Not sure how jealous I should be of your winter holiday (very much currently, as I type this en route to school), as I have no idea about the different workloads involved. Would you opt for hagwons, or public schools?


  3. I am quite happy with where I am at and would never go back to where I was last year. With that being said public schools can be just as disparate as hagwons. Students are a factor but its even more-so your co-teacher, (who often didn’t choose the role nor is compensated for the extra work) and the principle and v.p. both of whom have complete authoritarian rule over the school and thus your life.

    My situation isn’t ideal but having been on the other end of the spectrum I know how good I have it. I plan on riding out the sinking ship that is state funded NET education. While Jeolla seemed untouched by the financial cutbacks we just learned yesterday that 5 districts will not be renewing the NET’s for next year. While Korea’s desire for English education is on the downswing Japan’s seems to be on the up…


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