Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Beginnings

Here for you finally is an update on what it has been like starting the new semester with my new co-teacher.


That is the word I will use to describe this transformation. Let me break down the experience so far.

First Day of the New Semester:
My new coteacher arrived and we said hello. We went to our desks and got set up for the day. She found out we needed to go to the opening ceremony and so we did.

Back at our classroom we started to chat and she offered me to have a seat. Her English was really good, with full sentences and a high level of comprehension.

Unfortunately, I was in a somber mood because I was so fearful of what this new semester was going to be like. So I didn't really know how to be or act. But I tried my best to be open and conversational with her.

We got to talking about ourselves and our experiences. It was going along well, except for when she asked me "Is there anything you want to know about me?" And I was stumped. I could tell I made my first-day mistake right there.

However, she immediately moved past that and we talked about other things.

She said that it was very important for her to create a warm relationship and that was her goal.

I felt the same way so I was really relieved to hear that.

We talked more but it was mostly general stuff. Had lunch and then worked on our planning and called it a day.

First Day of Classes:
On Tuesday we had our first set of classes. It was with grade 5.

Before everything got started we discussed what we would like to do.
  • Do the normal checklist: how are you? Date? Weather?
  • Practice giving a different answer to How are you? (usually the answer is "I'm fine thank you and you?")
  • Coteacher introduced herself.
  • Coteacher prompted students to close their eyes and visualize why they study English. Then they were assigned to write down their thoughts (in Korean).
  • Coteacher taught them her method of quieting down (using a clap and respond method)
  • Notebook assignment
  • Goodbye
Let me just say that she is way-way far ahead of my old coteacher. Which brings me to some revelations I had.

Apparantly my ex-coteacher didn't really want to be the English teacher. Meaning she was a teacher here and then put into the role of English teacher. After realizing this, it all made a whole lot of sense to me why she seemed so dispondant sometimes.

The new coteacher engages the students in a friendly and cognitive way. Although, we haven't clearly defined who does what in the class she has been revealing my role more and more with each lesson. So far it is my job to do the introduction in the class and then she calls on me for certain parts during the lesson. A cooperative kind of deal.

Other Realizations:
My ex coteacher was given some kind of really complicated assignment for the English program here. She could have received help for it, but the Principal denied her the assistance. (I found this out through my new coteacher). So my ex-coteacher was really busy on that assignment.

I have concluded that because my ex-coteacher didn't really embrace her role as English Teacher that her and I had a somewhat surface relationship.

But I do praise my ex coteacher for getting through one year of a job she didn't want to do. All I could have asked for is that she had found me a better home back when I signed up for this job. Next time, when faced with a new contract, I will make sure my new home is something worth taking the job for.

I am enthusiastic about this new semester and the following 8 months I have left on my contract. My new coteacher shows concern for my well being and has experience working with foreigners. Although, I will still err on the cautious side due to that she is Korean and there could be some office-gossip created if I get too friendly with her.

Here's to new beginnings!

1 comment:

  1. Is there anything you want to know about me?"
    That can be a stumper for sure. Because, obviously you want to know whatever it is she wants to tell. Took me a long time to figure out a good answer is simply

    She said that it was very important for her to create a warm relationship and that was her goal.

    She sounds like a wonderful co-worker. How wonderful for you.


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