Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time flies when no one is prepared

My small school 3rd graders

It's amazing how time can fly. I looked up yesterday and realized I'm a month away from summer break. Lately everything has been blending into a fun blur of teaching during the week and relaxing, research heavy weekends.

I say research heavy because I'm currently deciding where to go on vacation in August (in Korea), where to go for the Korean Thanksgiving (Japan), where do go after my contract ends (possibly Nepal, China and/or other places) and where to live next (Australia unless i find a job somewhere like Bali or Fiji). Looking into all this, plus guessing where my finances will be though out, checking airline prices, etc takes a lot of time. Hopefully here in a couple weeks I can jump up to Seoul for a weekend. Get away and get a taste of home at the same time :D

A normal picture for children (ie no two doing the same thing)

Now to continue my series about Korea, I'll address two things. One good and one not so good. First the not so good. The whole school system from the top down seems to be completely unorganized. Part of this is that they forget to tell me things until the last minute. But they make this same mistake so consistently and across so many schools that it is clearly a systemic error. Absolutely everything feels rushed or thrown together at the last minute at my schools. Events seem to appear out of nowhere. Teachers sometimes stay in the classroom with me and sometimes go off to talk with their friends. Plans get changed at the last minute and I usually find out when I show up to start the original ones.

This induces the occasional complaint from me (What do you mean I have to teach the 3rd grade now?!? I don't teach them again until next week!). But overall I mostly just find it funny and roll with it. Besides, at least half of these "by the way" moments are good things like "today we have a field-trip and you don't have to teach" or "all your classes are canceled for testing today".

The plus side to this loosely controlled chaos is the amount of freedom i'm given to teach what and how I want to. I'm largely free from oversight and can thus focus on really improving the student's English, instead of follow the exact plan the book lays out. It gives me more ownership of the classroom, makes me work harder and makes me prouder when my students succeed.

Of course the ultimate lesson from both of these situations is to just relax and go with it. As the Bible says "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

Clearly these two got the message

PS. Yes I know the pictures are all non-sequiturs

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