Thursday, September 26, 2013

The lunches are good!

It's the end of my first full week of school, and I'm finally feeling like I've at least caught up with the slowest runner in the pack. I still have tons to learn about not necessary managing a classroom but definitely some of that combined with knowing how to engage a classroom. It's been a sprint right from the start with open classes and knowing that my co-teacher Moonee would be leaving (leaving tomorrow actually) to be a mother : )

I've already experienced the last-second changes of the Korean school systems with classes being switched and cancelled and appointments being pushed back, pushed forward, and put back on the dime. The students call me "teacher" and love to wave and shout, "Hello!" to me in the hallways. School lunches actually aren't that bad -- I know that the quality is much lower than what one gets at a restaurant and in a Korean home, but all the fresh vegetables and a variety of sides at every meal is something I've started to really enjoy and look forward to. And I do feel like a regular Clark, eating rice every day.

Ah and all the fruit I've eaten in Korea - grapes, plums, and little oranges - SO GOOD. Bursting with flavor and given to me randomly and unexpectedly at school. It's a real treat. I also get a small carton of milk every morning, deducted enthusiastically from my paycheck. 

I made a powerpoint before I left Wisconsin to introduce myself. I included pictures of my family, Bucky-themed Wisconsin, and my hobbies. It's proved really nice to have, especially that one time I thought a teacher had invited me to her house for dinner because she saw I liked hiking. It'd be about an hour walk or hike from Doam Elementary to my apartment and her home. I thought maybe it was a right of passage but Moonee's reaction when I told her what I thought told me I was wrong. And yep, nope. Walk together and go to separate homes. We laugh about the miscommunication, though for different reasons I think.

The level of English in each class varies sometimes drastically from student to student. But overall, I have been quite surprised at how much they know and understand. It's really impressive. One of the little second grade girls asked me, "How are you feeling today?" Another student in the fifth grade class asked me, "Teacher, you said you are from Wisconsin? I lived in Colorado." 

Teaching in an elementary school is different and new. I love the organizational challenge of teaching six different grades, some of which are made up of two classes. Like decorating for Christmas, it's stressful. But once I get everything set-up, hung, and the lights work, hopefully, it'll have the power to stand up to the energy and laughs of the students. 

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