I was not prepared for the madness that was my first day as a teacher.
My background dealing with kids and/or teaching is a five-year stint as a soccer referee and 1 year as a ESL tutor for adults. And then one week of training — which felt like it did nothing to prepare me when I walked into April on Feb 28.
First off, let me explain April institute. My work day starts at 1:30 p.m. because it is a hagwon (학원), a private institute, where students go after they leave school.
Not-so-fun fact: Korean students go to school then go to 3 hagwons a day, on average. They are in school for about 12 hours everyday, and some schools have half-days on Saturdays.
So most of these students are schooled-out and don’t give a flyin’ flip about what’s going on.
And I have 75 students. 75.
See, I teach half of the 85-minute class. I teach the speaking part, while a co-worker (a Korean) teaches the reading/writing portion.
Remember the levels I said in an earlier post? Well, I teach speaking of Seed 1 (basic sentences), Sprout 1 (basic paragraphs), Sprout 2 (more complex but still basic paragraphs).
So my 40-minutes is going over a separate story book (that I wasn’t even aware existed until I got to my branch…stupid training), making sentences about pictures and then getting children to memorize and act out a tiny script.
And I did this 6 times in 5 hours.
Then my class at 7:15, my last class, I teach the whole 85 minutes (Reading/writing/speaking). Luckily, this class is pretty mellow (and only 7 students).
By the end of my first day, I wasn’t sure what happened the last last 7 hours. Then they give you daily reports.
In this school, the native speakers teach the students. The counselors deal with the parents.
So we have to write a daily report about every student, so when the parents call (and they call a lot), the counselor have something to say about the kid.
My first day, I looked at one class’s daily report, scanned the names and then stopped. I didn’t remember teaching this entire class. No recollection of any of those 12 kids. None.
And I got all three of my Cindys mixed up. ( I also have 3 Brians, 2 Kevins, Twins, Sophie/Sophia, and Raye/Raya). But the Cindys kick my butt. Three weeks in, I still can’t really remember which one did what. Those middle classes get hazy, and all three Cindys are good students.
Eh, I’ll figure it out.
My first day was just so overwhelming and confusing, and it is all captured on CCTV. But now, I finally found the rhythm for the job (in teaching and paperwork). But it’s still….intense.
But one of my students apparently loooovees me because I am a real American. So that’s nice.
Here’s a random photo since I don’t have anything that correlates with this post. Enjoy!
These guys are everywhere.
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— Sara —