Saturday, October 23, 2010

Back to elementary

"I expected to be thrown in the deep end when I arrived. I just didn't expect it to be the deep end of the Pacific" -Me

As i'm sure you can guess from my choice of opening quotes (being the perceptive reader that you are), my first week of teaching k-6 was a mix of the wonderful and the extremely stressful. I'll get the bad parts out of the way first. My first day they expected me to teach 7 classes with no time for prep and no experience teaching kids. I survived with only a few panic attacks. The next day was at my 2nd school (I teach at 2) and there I met another expat teacher who really helped me find my footing. Her websites, tips and my only have 3 classes that day gave me a chance to breath and get something resembling a plan together. The rest of the week was occupied solely with teaching all day and planning lessons all night.

This picture has no relation to our current narrative but its on a hilltop here and it's pretty and calming after that last paragraph

Fortunately there was plenty of good news too. Now that i'm getting my bearings i'm not so stressed anymore (I was slightly-nauseated-stressed for my first couple days). I'm getting the hang of lesson planning and i'm getting faster. Soon instead of taking all night, it will probably take me 30 minutes or less. Also i'm starting to understand how to teach kids and that makes a big difference too. Once I get some backup plans in place and come to better understand each individual class, I have no doubts that this will become as second nature to me as teaching in Prague was.

Another good thing is that I love the kids and they seem to love me. Maybe it's because i'm a giant to them. Maybe it's because I smile a lot. Maybe it's because I'm new. Maybe it's because I throw them in the air and play lots of games in class. Whatever the reason, they all yell and wave and smile every time they see me. It certainly makes the job rewarding. Heck, at one of the schools I even have my own room to teach in (in the other I visit each grade's homeroom).

My classroom

My classroom

One of my principles even told my korean co-teacher that he thought I looked like a movie star. Tom Cruise to be specific. I laughed and pointed out that he is much shorter than me. They all laughed quite hard at that.

This weekend I am spending sleeping, reading, grocery shopping and generally relaxing. I'm trying to let the stress bleed off then refocus and get ahead so i don't have another week like that anytime soon. I can certainly handle it but I don't like being unprepared if I can help it. For now, here are a couple beautiful pictures I've taken walking around. I'll say this for Jeju, I definitely won't be bored here :)

Looking across the city to where the ocean meets the sky

As my path leads, so I go

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