Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘Deskwarming’ Category

2011-2012 School Year.

The new school year started sometime last week…I think. My first English class was last Friday but the details leading UP to the first day of teaching are equally as interesting my teaching.

It all started the week of Feb 21st. It was a week full of deskwarming and last minute changes and surprises. Tuesday I heard that there would be a meeting with the new teachers who would come to meet the staff AND everyone else would get their assignments. I was anticipating this because I was getting a new contract co teacher and possibly losing my main co teacher.

I met a few new teachers who looked so fresh and wide eyed- ACTUALLY excited! It was nice and refreshing. One of them speaks almost perfect English- score.  Random awards were given to certain people for reasons I have no idea about. Finally it came time for announcing who was teaching each grade along with their class lists.

First grade was called and 2 teachers go up to the principal and choose an envelope from her hand.

Second grade- the same thing.

3rd grade- 3 teachers went up and randomly picked between the three different envelopes.

4th, 5th, and 6th all went through the same process. Wait, what?…the class lists are completely random?

Pick a card, any card type of a magic trick.

During my student teaching last year I was involved in the placing of children to the next grade. It was a careful and thoughtful process. We considered things such as special needs, personality and  structure of the classroom.  It was really hard, but in the end we both felt like it was a good place for the students. Watching how all homeroom teachers and students are completely random was really weird for me.  I felt like it was another example of how students are never really thought of in the equation of their learning.

I realize that because of the way that Korean schools are structured its impossible to go through a process even close to how my teacher did last year. (Korean teachers get new assignments each year potentially. It is usually up to the Principal and Vice Principal what each teacher’s assignment will be for the year. -people don’t apply for a second grade position, most like A POSITION IN DAEGU, then they get a 5th grade job at my school. )

I wonder what their reasoning is? I think that it does have a positive- it is COMPLETELY objective and random. No favoritism is played.

Should I be shocked? Is it really that bad? I just worry about students involvement in their learning on a day to day basis. They are rarely considered.

Anyways, they are all in their new homerooms and they are cute as ever. I saw a lot of familiar faces. One face that I didn’t recognize stared at me in the lunch room then got up and introduced herself. What a brave soul. I don’t know where she came from but I am glad that she is here.

co-teachers:

2 new, 1 same. One new English teacher came to my school and I feel really lucky to have her. She is nice and WILLING to let me teach. Interested in my ideas- so far. Easy going and doesn’t believe that she has to be a hard ass to gain their respect. Her English is great and she has traveled around the world- including the USA!

Other new English teacher is actually the head teacher of the school. She is the third in command to the Principal and Vice Principal. It is a little nerve racking but she likes me, so I just have to keep smiling.

TEXTBOOKS.

The textbooks are ‘updated.’ They are just so silly. The characters however, don’t have Korean English accents. Nami can now say “Is Peter THEre?” I’m so proud of her. haha

Below are the new English books for 3rd and 4th grade. This year is the first year that each school had the responsibility of choosing the new books. As opposed to every other year where EVERY SCHOOL HAS THE SAME BOOK. Thus, www.waygook.org was created haha.

3rd and 4th grade textbooks. ©Camtu

I welcome this new year and hope that all the hard work I put in these past 6 months show for something in the next 6 months!

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20 3rd grade Korean Students. Me. 2 6th grade Korean ‘Teachers Aids.’ Ahh Winter Camp ^^

Winter vacation is over and done with but it was a whole mess of fun. The whole month of January and most of February Korean students and teachers are on break. Aside from the couple of teachers who come to the school to “keep it from being stolen,” no one comes to school. This is where Native English teachers come in handy. We are required to come to school everyday whether or not you have a class to teach. You might be asking yourself- what do you do then? Well my friend, welcome to Korea, where deskwarming is a part of our professional job. Many people have blogged about this before, my friend Erin talks of her deskwarming conflicts in her blog. Anyways, this is not the point- but I am deskwarming RIGHT NOW.

During Winter vacation I did not have to desk warm because I was crazy busy with my own winter camp.  I was given full responsibility for 3 weeks of winter camp. I would not have a Korean teacher there for those tough language barrier experiences. Well, I had a KT there twice a week, but…she saw it as my camp so stayed away. Whatever. I was determed to show my entire school that I can teach. Before WC started I got so many looks of pitty. “By herself?,” they would say. “Oh good luck.” “How will you discipline?” “How will you blah blah blah…?” The same way I do with every class- make sure they know what their expectations are. I had a week before WC started officially at school and I was busy rearranging the room from a rigid in rows type of feel to a group vibe.

One group. Yes they are still in rows.

Wall of helpful phrases. This saved my life- I used it too!

I was able to set up the room pretty much however I wanted. I wanted groups, stations and an accessible library. I set up a system for game check out and gave students about 30-40 minutes at the end of the day for some choice time.

 

My co teacher and my four 6th grade assistants helped me to compile this list of useful phrases. My co teacher wants to keep it during school- yay! So onward I went for 3 full weeks of camp from 9-12:10 every day.

Week1- 3rd graders. Oh boy was I nervous for the first day of Winter Camp. It’s not like I hadn’t overly prepared for it but I really didn’t know what to expect. I had prepared something for them to do when they showed up, so the students had something to transition themselves into camp. They all learned how to write their names in English by the end of the week because every morning they practiced writing their name about 10 times. The theme for this week was- me, me, me! Some highlights from camp can only be followed up by their adorable pictures. My words wouldn’t do them justice.

Tracing each other while studying body parts, they thought I was CRAZY for suggesting this.

Self- portrait from the beginner camp.

We had a nice batch of snow : ) We wanted to make a snowman together!

Don't be fooled. She wanted to throw that at someone.

Studying 'likes' and 'dislikes.'

I do not like what...

Oh, I don't like bags= bugs!

I know its crooked, but he does not like crows...he hates the sound that they make.

This song was learned about different ways to answer the question- "Hello, how are you?"

The first closing ceremony of Winter Camp.

I didn’t want this group to leave. By Wednesday we were all in a groove and I got to know them all a lot better! Even though we had a language barrier we all had our laughs and little class inside jokes. It was a nice feeling. I miss having one group of students to teach all day- makes me really miss Mrs. Taber and our 2nd graders last year. I didn’t have too much time to think about how much I would miss this group because I had to get ready for the 4th graders next week!