Saturday, November 16, 2013

Teaching in Korea is like being on a roller coaster

One of my friends who has lived in Korea for a year says it best..."Working here has got to be one of the biggest roller coaster rides of emotions a person can experience."

I couldn't have said it better myself. The ups and downs seem to be extreme in nature, and it is so hard to put into words. That has completely been my experience the past couple of weeks. I went from being stressed out and crying to jumping for joy and praising God for answered prayers.

Like I said in my last post, I was having some difficulties at my school. It may not seem like a big deal to others, but it was a big deal to me. I have been teaching for 15 years, and I think I'm a pretty good teacher. I love being creative and thinking of new ways to teach my students.

My co-teacher has only been teaching 9 months and was not trained at all like I have been trained in Texas. I am amazed at how they teach in Korea, students sitting all the time listening to the teacher and learning only from textbooks. If you know anything about education in the states, it is just not done like that. At all. So it has been somewhat of a struggle. She wants me to teach a certain way, and those ways are like nails on a chalkboard to me. So I bit my tongue, fought back the tears, and continued to teach my students in the way I knew worked, mixed with the way she wanted me to teach. It wasn't easy, but I reminded myself that I am not in my own country. I am in Korea. Their views of education are very different.

Also, my washing machine died. It was old. Very old. Per our contract, our school is supposed to provide appliances such as the TV and washing machine. However, we are supposed to pay for all the repairs. No, it doesn't make sense to me either. My TV was so old that I couldn't even get cable. It was one of those big box TVs from 1984, and I bought a flat screen from friends who were moving back to the states. I told my co-teacher that my washing machine died, and she had a repairman come over to the apartment and repair it. However, it was too old to repair. So my co-teacher told me that I might have to purchase a new washing machine. Uh, what? ME? I was floored. She said that the school was discussing whether they would purchase the washer or if I would have to.

I didn't know what to do. Friends told me to contact the director of our Daejeon EPIK program, so I did. It was stressful. The director actually called my school and talked to my co-teacher. Days went by. On Thursday, my co-teacher told me that the school ordered me a NEW washing machine, and that it would arrive in a couple of days. Well, it actually arrived later that day, and a man from school came over to install it. We moved the old washer out (those things are HEAVY) and the new one in. Installation complete.  

All the instructions were of course in Korean, so Julie came over later that night to help me decipher all the directions. I was able to do laundry that night....only to discover that he didn't install it correctly which made water spew out everywhere....all over the wall, the floor, and everywhere in between. I eventually had to turn off the water at 10:30pm to the washer to get it to stop.

Another reason I am praising God this week is that my co-teacher came over to me during class last Thursday while I was working with two boys on their ABCs. We were using an activity I created, one that I had been working on a while. She saw what we were doing, talked to the boys about it, and then told me that the boys loved working with me and loved my activities. She then said that she wanted me to share my ideas and activities because she and I teach very differently. I was shocked. And excited. This was HUGE. So HUGE. This made me giddy with excitement.

Here is the ABC activity that I created:
ABC Mix and Match Word Wall Cards
I have really had a lot of fun creating products like this for my students. I enjoyed it so much that I have created more products for my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. I'm even in the process of changing up the name of my teaching blog and everything. I'm excited to work more on it and to see the blessings that come from it. I've already made some extra money which makes me even more excited.

Can you believe that I've now been here for 3 months? I still can't believe that I'm actually here.

Even though it's been a roller coaster, it's been a great experience.  One thing about roller coasters, they are never boring.

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