Sunday, August 26, 2007

8/18/07 Saturday afternoon

Sorry for the lack of updates. The past two weeks have been crazily busy. I’ve been sleeping between 3 and 5 hours per night. That would explain why I passed out yesterday afternoon on the car ride from Seoul to Chicago with my co-teachers.

I just arrived at my homestay Friday night. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to publish this post because I don’t have Internet in my room or for my computer. I’ll be using the family computer for a little bit.

So far I am absolutely thrilled with my school and homestay family. First the school, we are supposed to teach 20 hours according to our contract. But I have 13 actual classes (6 1st grade, 7 2nd grade) and then 7 hours of miscellaneous activities. I have 1 hour of teacher prep time for each grade and 1 hour of random teacher workshops and whatever questions they have. Then I think I have 2 hours for English club activity (10-15 students) and 2 hours with the super-advanced English students. I really wanted to teach the youngest grades so I’m really happy with my schedule. Also, I have my own classroom with air conditioning, which is really rare in Korea. A lot of my other GIKs are just traveling from class to class. I also have to follow a textbook, so I don’t have to make up lessons from scratch. Also, my school is part of a pilot project to study having both a native speaker and the Korean homeroom teacher in the classroom. So, supposedly I will have fewer problems with discipline since the homeroom teachers will be with me.

I’m “teaching” an English language summer camp from this coming Monday to Thursday, 9-12 each day. Then, school officially starts next week but I just have “orientation” to the school, which means I get my schedule and prepare but don’t actually have to teach. I start teaching the first week in September. =) So I’ll have time off to plan and relax a bit. My official liaison with the school is a 29 year old teacher who’s 8 months pregnant. She’s really sweet and I can’t wait to get to play with her baby. There are 2 other English language teachers that I had dinner with last night and I can already tell I will love them. They are so great and fun and mostly young. The English head is not as young but a LOT of fun. She reminds me of my mom =)

My family has 2 kids, 9th grade daughter and a 6th grade son at my school. They both seem a little shy but sweet. The family lived in Vancouver for 2 years (I think 04-05) while the dad was a visiting professor at University of British Columbia, so their English is pretty good. Both parents are professors of medicine. The father is anesthesiology and the mom teaches a paramedic training course. I get to call the mom and dad 이모 and 이모부. The family is Catholic (like me!) and so I’m glad I don’t have to deal with super-religious zealots who pressure their GIK to convert (which I’ve heard happens!). Also, the dad’s family is native to kwangju, which is close to my dad’s 고향 so for Chusok, they will drive me to kwangju and my family can just pick me up from there! Yay!!

We live a 5-minute walk away from my school. We live in a nicer area (new apt. complex) and there are apparently lots of English hagwons around, so I’ve seen a bunch of other Americans around in the streets (YAY!!!). Also, there are lots of stores and restaurants within walking distance all around so that’s good, too! I think my goal for this weekend is to finish settling in and sleep a LOT LOT LOT. Also, there is a piano in my room, and I have to figure out if I’m allowed to ask them to remove it… haha.

My mommy is in Korea doing church youth group stuff but she’s going to come see me on Thursday, so YAY!!!

I’m still a little worried about things like laundry and food and showering sans shower curtain for a year, but I think I’m slowly getting used to the idea that I’ll be here for a year.

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