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First Day Teaching...

Pusan, South Korea

The teachers room, crowded, noisy. Everything that a sanctuary for educators should be right? Right. Kids run into the room, dart behind your chair and scream “Hi, teachuh!” while cramming their book bag uncomfortably behind your back. A nice little treat for you to rest your lumbar region on until you wrap up your email. The kids share the computers with the teachers. They use them to do speaking practice using microphones. Repeating over and over and yet again over. “Are you my mother!” In a lilting bastard child of Korean and English. Not quite either but struggling this way and that.
My first class went pretty well considering a few things. I had had no instruction besides watching other classes play games and color. I had no preparation with the book I was to be teaching and had no idea what was on the Cds that come with said books.
So, I winged it as best I could. I sped through the whole lesson’s worth of material, sparse material at that, in about fifteen minutes… that including me introducing myself and asking the kid’s names. Now is when one must prove oneself. This is the chance to show my true grit, show that I am of the highest ilk in the ESL(English as a Second Language) community. Therefore, I wandered around the room asking the little ones… umm, what color is this?! Searching frantically for an answer. Blue, green, yellow, and on and on. Two minutes later I have run out of colors that they know. Anyone think this is Burnt Umber? Egg shell white? C’mon kids! Next I found myself pointing at different shapes and counting the sides of them with the students. Yes! A hexagon has 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 sides!
Thirty-five minutes of that and you’d better believe the kids were rolling their eyes, sighing heavily and plaintively whining “Teachuuuuuuh!” I had survived my first class and was then off and running to the five other classes of the day. Each one being fifty minutes long with a ten minute break sandwiched in between. I began to get the hang of this sort of CD/Book teaching. I was able to fluff up and fill the time left by lack of material by talking with the students. By asking them about themselves, their likes their dislikes. More important to the ESL teachers than this student connection has proven to be the “fail-safe” of Hang-man. Man, they eat that game up. Unless they are older, surly Junior High kids who think it’s uncool. Hangman ironically enough saved me from hanging out to dry a few times when I found myself running short on lesson material. It's cheap, I know this, but it must have some educational value.
After completing my first official shift I was ready to call it a day. I was able to move into my apartment seeing as the previous teacher had taken off during the day. After school I went back home with Brian and he helped me drag my suitcases to my building. To most people my apartment would be considered a shoe box. I guess I haven’t really thought about it too much because it is big enough for me. It is comfortable enough and most importantly it is paid for by the man! I was very lucky to have almost everything that I could possibly need left for me by Nicole. From a fold-down futon couch/bed to a blender. I can not thank her enough for making my move less of a culture shock and hassle than it could have been.

permalink written by  Native_Kurtz on January 31, 2008 from Pusan, South Korea
from the travel blog: South Korea - Busan - Teaching Abroad
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