We've been here nearly five days...crazy, considering I feel like I've been here five months. My first few days were full of fear and stress in anticipation of my first day of classes which made those days seem to stretch into oblivion. Now that my first day is done and I have more of an idea of what to expect hopefully my days will chill out and start feeling like normal ones. As I write this it's 9:46am Tuesday and I'm far more relaxed than I was at 9:46am yesterday. While teaching in Japan it was slightly more than playing bingo and Uno for 45 minutes. We went through a textbook, yes, but mostly those textbooks were well past the English intelligence level of my kids. Parents are shamed if their children have to be held back in the same level for another semester so generally they are moved along to the next level whether they have the ability or not. So eventually I have 12 year old kids with a book expecting them to read, write and understand basic grammar and vocabulary and all the while they can't count to 20. Not in Korea! These kids are insane smart. For instance, my first class yesterday the children are roughly 6-8 years old and their "textbook" is just a Nemo book and Nemo workbook. Very basic english with three sentences a page or so. I read the first few pages and the kids shoot their hands in the air...so I point to one and she just reads the next page on her own, no big deal. I just stared at her for a second, amazed. So I point to another and he does the same thing...so that was a real eye opener for the rest of the day. My two favorite students in Japan were two 12 year old girls who had great English and I could actually have basic conversation with them....that's the level of my 7 year olds here. This may sound boring to you reading this but to me, it's incredible.
So my days are Monday-Friday 1:00-6:35. Not bad. I have to leave my apartment about 12:15 or so and after I get done teaching I write up a daily report and head home. I still get to sleep in but I get home at a reasonable time...I like it. I actually lucked out with my job. Most people who are placed in private schools have extremely long hours (until 10pm mostly) and that's what I had come to accept would be my job. But my recruiter found a position at an after school program in the public schools. Nice.
Everything will become much easier once I learn how to read Korean. Al is already starting to pick up on it very easily and that will be a big help. A lot of things are bi-lingual in Korean in Japanese and I thank the Heavens for it because I can actually read the Japanese part. I find myself looking for things with Japanese on it just so I can have some sense of understanding. Weird concept...being in Korea but getting excited when things are written in Japanese.
We went to karaoke the other night! Not the same as in Japan...this one only had a book to choose from, not a fancy machine, and it wasn't the most up-to-date choices. Did a lot of Kelly Clarkson. The place is directly across the street from our building so I'm sure we'll venture out and hopefully find a better place.
The train system is exactly like Japan so that was easy to navigate...AND everything is in English as well. English menus on the ticket machine. YESSSSSSSS. The train voice does her bit in Korean then miraculously I hear "Next stop - Seomyeon." YESSSSSSSSS. Al went to to beach yesterday while I was at work and said it's amazing. A mix between Honolulu and South Beach from what I gathered.
A lot of choppy random information, I know, but it's late...=)