Saturday, July 02, 2005

Thank god for power convertors

Hello my friends! I'm sorry I didn't get to post yesterday but alas my computer's battery died and I was left net-less. I could have blogged from school but thought I'd keep my secret identity from my co-workers for the time being.

Before I tell you what happened in the last few days I'll just clear up one thing. It is currently 3:00 in the afternoon here in Korea. Those of you in Toronto or Eastern Standard time are 13 hours BEHIND me. So right now it's 2:00 in the morning for you guys. Just think of me as being in the opposite time of day plus one hour. Got it? Good.

So, my first day of work.

My boss, whose name is Saenk-Yu (like Thank you but with an S, I think), picked me up at my apartment and drove me to school since I had no idea how to walk there on my own. I was thankful because of the torrential downpour that drenched all my coworkers from head to foot.

I got to school and met my coworkers: Kiersty, Meaghan, Barbara, Barbara, Chris, and another guy whose name I forgot. They were friendly enough but perhaps a little standoffish. I guess they weren't sure how to react to me or something. They're all Canadian except for one who is American. I was given a desk with a computer on it in the large staff room so that was fine and dandy for me.

The day began with me observing Kiersty teach both hers and my kids together. They range in age from probably about 4 - 5 I think, but perhaps they're younger. Korean age is different; when you're born you are immediately one year old, so maybe I have three year olds. Not sure. Anyway, Kiersty led the class and I helped out and tried to soak in as much information as possible. It was the first day of school for this session (a new session starts each month) so everything was a little chaotic.

What happens is there are forty five minute periods with some kind of class or theme during each time slot. For example, the morning forty five minutes were spent doing good morning routines and maybe learning about a theme. Then there is a ten minute break where Korean staff come in and give snack while we teachers relax in the staff room. It goes on like that for five hours with a one hour lunch in between. I watched and helped Kiersty with music class and colouring.

There is a little Korean woman who cooks lunch for the entire school, including the seven teachers. I have no idea what I ate though... rice and some other stuff that I forget now. It was welcome after eating two lowly granola bars for breakfast. Two minutes before the end of lunch period, yes TWO, I was informed that I would be on my own in the afternoon. WHAT?? I think I might have suffered a slight heart attack at that moment. I had to teach math for forty five minutes to a bunch of four year olds who cared not for math or any other organized instruction. What would I do? Well, I can't tell you exactly what I did because it was one of the worst forty five minutes of my life!! I had absolutely no idea what to do with them so I wrote numbers on the white board one by one and asked them what they were. A few of them knew. Then I tried to get them to try writing the numbers... what was I thinking? They can hardly hold their crayons, let alone write numbers. Sigh. I trudged back to the staff room almost in tears. They could have at least told me in advance! I don't even remember what the last period of the day was but I managed it somehow and the little kindies went home.

Then I had two hours (broken up by a ten minute break) to teach older kids phonics and conversation. Sure, phonics, no problem... Whatever the hell phonics are. I know technically what they are but how does one teach them is the question. Luckily these kids have textbooks and workbooks so I used those mostly. I was also very glad to have brought some pictures of home which ate up a good 20 minutes of one period.

Thank the lord the day ended for me at 4:20. The usual schedule is that we work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:45 - 6:40 and Tuesday and Thursday 9:45 - 4:20. Two teachers do Tuesday and Thursday 4:20 - 6:40 and get paid overtime for it. There is no class for me to take on M, W, F so instead I'm just working the late shift on T and TH. That's sweet.

I know this is a long post but I guess I'll contine. My coworkers were planning a party for a number of occasions including a housewarming, a birthday, and Canada day and throughout the day they were talking about it but never asked me if I wanted to join. I wasn't sure whether I should invite myself or just go home and sleep. At the end of the day I was invited after all so I went along and had a good time. My coworkers are both nice and a lot of fun.

We ate galbi (beef cooked on the table in front of you by the waitress and wrapped in leaves with tasty sauce and other things), we went to the new apartment of two of my coworkers and chatted for a long time with a few other foreigners who aren't from my school, we went to the foreigner bar in Sugi called the WA bar and checked out the very Canadian foreigner crowd, then we finished off the night at a noraebang - a karaoke place with private rooms so you only sing with your party. It was a genuine night out in Korea and I rolled into my bed at 6:00 in the morning. Sorry, mum.

Finally, to round this post off, today I woke up at about noon and decided I better buy some water before I dehydrate. I went to a convenience store near my house and bought two large bottles for two dollars all together. Then I walked over to Lotte Mart, a HUGE wal-mart/grocery store to buy a power convertor and USB port extension thingy. I didn't get as many stares as I thought though I certainly was the only foreigner in there and I had no idea what anyone said to me. I spent 25 minutes staring at the convertor options wondering what to do. Apparently it all worked out, eh?

On my way out of Lotte Mart I went to the food court and, though nervous to make an order, tried my hand at asking for bibimbap. "Bibimbap chuseyo" I said, which means "please give me bibimbap". They smiled and brought me to the menu which had pictures to have me show them which one I wanted. Oops. I got my food, ate it and handled the hot sauce, then walked home feeling accomplished and ready to hit my computer. I did it!

So now I'm sitting in my apartment writing this and downloading all my pictures which is taking forever. I'll post them after this. I'm going to rest, read the teacher's manual, and properly plan my weekly lessons today and tomorrow. No plans for tonight since I have no cell phone. Which is fine. I don't want to overdo it afterall.

4 Comments:

At July 02, 2005 2:30 AM , Blogger TickToo said...

Sounds like a packed day, Jess! Glad you're making friends already... and you have NO right teaching math to anybody, 3yrs old or otherwise. Goodluck with that one.

 
At July 02, 2005 5:42 AM , Blogger Christopher Olie's Dad said...

Sounds like a very interesting and action packed day. Nothing like being thrown in with the wolves. be assured, you no doubt did a better job than I would have. I would have given the kids an assignment and that's it. Where's the coffee machine for me.

I am guessing that your computer is now fully charged up and rareing to go. That's the one problem with the small lap tops, they are great from a weight point of view, but their batteries are not long lasting.

Zaddy just left in an ambulance for the JGH with Mom. I am bay sitting Bubbs till they return.

That\s all for now. Write often to us, even a few words is great.

Send me your mailing address as well. and a contact phone number in case.

 
At July 03, 2005 6:26 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

hardy har har Rick. Maybe I'll teach them stats instead? How about that? Everyone loves ANOVAs

Dad, is it okay to keep the sony charging constantly? I don't plan on taking it around anywhere.

 
At July 04, 2005 10:08 AM , Blogger TickToo said...

Jess, if you're worried about ruining the battery when you leave the computer charging, you can take the battery right out and just let the computer run from it's power source. Just make sure you don't lose the battery.

 

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