So today is June 5th, 2017. I have been living and working in Korea for just over 3 months now. I feel that so many things have happened, but compared to the greater timeline, nothing has really changed.
I have slowly been buying furniture for my apartment because I take public transportation from E-MART to my house so I don’t bring anything on the bus that would be overbearing and difficult. My next biggest purchase will be a desk because as time goes on I find that I’m eating away from home more and more because I miss the comfort of having a chair to sit in while I eat. My kitchen table is a Korean traditional table; it rests about 8 inches from the floor (this means you sit on the floor to eat at the table). There is nothing wrong with sitting and eating on the floor, it’s just that I miss the comfort of leaning back in a chair and browsing through my newsfeed while in-between bites. Plus having a desk means additional storage space and a place to permanently rest my laptop, versus it’s home under my bedside table (which is actually a smaller Korean traditional table, since my bed still rests on the floor).
My students definitely fit into whatever stereotypes you can imagine involving middle school-aged children. That’s perfectly normal since nature takes it’s course around this time for them. They may be a pain in the neck, but I still love them because they’re a pain in my neck. I would say that about 90% of my students are genuinely well-behaved students, which is relieving when comparing stories with other Native English Teaches in Daegu.
We are “close” to the end of the semester: 2 weeks of Speaking Tests, 2 weeks to teach all students Lesson 5 in the textbook, 2 weeks of Lessons 1 to 5 review, 3 days of Final Tests, 1.5 weeks until Summer vacation. The first week of Summer vacation, however, has me back at school for 3 days teaching an English camp. Unfortunately, as I sit typing this today, I do not know which 3 days are my English camp days. I, as well as my main co-teacher, have been busy prepping for the Speaking Tests and end of semester reviews, so hopefully I will know soon so I can begin prepping for that.
Within the next 3 weeks, I will have 3 open classes. An open class is when your class is open to anyone coming to observe you teach. Wow, right? First time teacher, finally getting used to being in front of students, and now I’m going to be judged by people who have been doing this job a lot longer 3 times in a row. Fortunately, 1 of the open classes is a required one for the DMOE (Daegu Metropolitan Office of Education) and I am friends with the 2 NETs who will come to observe me. Unfortunately, my open class for the DMOE is surrounded by Speaking Tests, so I will not be able to enjoy the conversation that usually follows a DMOE-required open class because I will have to move from and to Speaking Tests. My second open class is also being held during a Speaking Test and it is for the parents of my students. I have been informed that no parents should come to observe me giving a Speaking test to the students, but they may be wandering through the hallways when I do end up giving them the Speaking test. My final open class is the one I’m most stressed about because it is for any teacher at my middle school to come watch. According to my co-teachers, only other teachers in your department usually come, but one of them made note that teachers usually like to come to the foreign teachers class to observe the foreign teacher and not the class.
Outside of school, I have been living a relatively normal life for a foreigner in Korea (in my opinion). I have been slowly accumulating nice places to eat and will put them all in one place for the blog. Nothing so far is a sponsored review, so it is 100% my real opinion about establishments. Overall, some things are difficult to get used to (coworkers wearing the same outfit three days in a row and that is socially OK) but other things are very easy to get used to (very cheap meat compared to the States).