Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Week Wrap Up

Hello everyone. Here is the part where I say sorry for not posting too much,  which is due to exhaustion from my first week back at work, unpacking and catching a cold.

The first week back at work wasn't really that bad. I recall my first week teaching in Korea and in comparison this was piece of cake.

To understand what I am doing these days here is my new schedule:
  • Mon: 2nd Grade x2, 6th Grade x 4 = total of 6 classes (4 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon.)
  • Tues: 2nd Grade x2, 6th Grade x 3 = total of 5 classes (4 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.)
  • Weds: 2nd Grade x1, 6th Grade x3 = total of 4 classes (4 in the morning)
  • Thurs: 2nd Grade x1, 4th Grade x3, 6th grade x1 = total of 5 classes (4 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.)
  • Fri: 2nd Grade x1, 6th Grade x3, 4th Grade x1 = total of 5 classes (4 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.)
That turns out to be that I am teaching 2nd, 4th and 6th grades. There is another foreign teacher at the school and she takes the other classes. This also means I have two Korean coteachers.

My new school is a bit different from last, whereas we do not have our own English classroom. Instead we travel to each class carrying a basket of our supplies. This is one aspect that I am going to have to get use to as I can't decorate a classroom or use certain kinds of supplies. But what I am noticing is that the attitude of the students is a bit different when the teacher visits their classroom. They seem not to be as excited to learn English or in the mood.

But I am starting at the end of the semester and so the kids are ready for their holiday break and to graduate.

The biggest upset and hurdle I faced last week was teaching 2nd grade. I have taught this age before but not on a daily basis and with a class size of 36. So it is a new ball game. Also I tend to not really understand what 2nd graders want. So I went through a few rough patches but I think I understand now what it is about. Planning will be key and making sure they aren't bored with the storybook materials (required part).

The coteaching part seems to be okay this time around. The main coteacher, I guess since she does most of the talking and coordinating, is actually an older woman. So I tend to agree with her and try not to stress her out. The other coteacher is quiet as a mouse especially when we are in the teacher's room. Teaching with her though doesn't seem to be a big deal.

What's new this time around is that I have to take lesson planning seriously. I am required to hand the lesson plans in promptly and have them reviewed. To me this is no big deal since a teaching job should require lesson planning. I do feel sheepish that I never really accomplished this at my last school due to miss-communication. The general classes don't really require a whole lot of brain work to make the lessons. Really you just end up copying what is in the teacher's manual and then pepper it with games and activities.

Last week was a rush of getting use to the new schedule and coteachers. Along with all this I had to crank out my lesson plans for the weeks to come. Thankfully I only really have to plan till the 24th since my vacation starts at that time.

But in January I will have winter camp to teach for 2 weeks. They already had a plan drawn up but after checking it out I realized it needed more materials so I spent a good chunk of time fattening up the winter camp agenda.

All in all, I can say that I really like my new school and coworkers. Including the house this job is really great. Of course nothing is perfect and the flaws in this job are that it takes me 40 minutes to walk to school. Mostly because I am a slow walker, so if I walked faster I could get there in 30 minutes. That and not having an English classroom are the only weaknesses in this job. But hey 30 minutes of walking near a river and past some trees is fine with me. Exercise plus nature enjoyment.

I have lots more I want to post with more stuff from Japan. But as I said I have a little cold and still need to get things squared away in my home. Till then...

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