Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lessons Learned

It's October 12th already and there is less than two months left at my school. The other day as I was in Seoul with JH we passed by the goshiwon I stayed in last November. I asked him, "Can you believe it? It has been nearly a year since I stayed in there?" He responded with an astonished, "Oh yea!" and we both reflected on how fast time flies by.

At that time I was in between jobs putting away all the stuff I went through at my first public school and anxious about what the new one would be like. Now I can tell I don't really think about my first public school and that the "new one" was well a rollercoaster ride. However, as I get to the end of this contract I can't help but look back and see how I have learned so much.

When I left my first public school I asked my coteacher, at that time, to tell me what I needed to do to improve myself both as an English teacher and a coteacher. I wrote down what she said and I wanted to take a moment in this post to look through these things and see if I have managed to learn a few things.
Lessons I have learned:
  • "Control your mind." Meaning don't show your emotions to the class or in front of your coteacher. Did I learn my lesson? The answer, I believe, is yes. However it took a long time and a lot of strife. I might still show it a little here and there but I have learned how to become aware and to have self-control.
  • "Create a warm relationship with people at the school." She claimed that I didn't do this and I responded that I was bitter at the school for giving me a crappy office-tell (first one had no window, second one wasn't much better). Did I learn my lesson? The answer is, yes. Despite the personal issues I had with previous coteachers at my current school I made it a point to bow and smile to everyone. I believe this worked as I never heard anything bad about my social behaivor.
  • "More communicative with KT when holding class and I should do 80% of it." A definite YES to this one! I have completely improved my teaching manner and style in the classroom. If I think about I had 3 different coteachers in the past year at this school and had to adapt to what they wanted. 
  • "Participate in preparing materials." Another YES! I make a lot of materials either by finding them online or creating my own. When cutting them out and laminating them I don't ask for help, either. I could but my coteachers are usually busy anyways. In other words I put the time into prep work, that I didn't do as much at my first public school. 
I think those highlight the significant "complaints" I received from my previous school. I will be honest, though, that I still hold inside me grief from what transpired during the first 5 months at this job. Thankfully, since then most of the people who hold those memories have moved on.

I've realized to let people be who they are and not get in the way. This is tough when you hear a coteacher say for example, "Because you are a man you can do it well and the students will like you more." (in reference to the new teacher) or "Every American loves British accents and wants to have one." That last one is based upon that my coteacher saw an episode of Friends with reference to that and the movie Love Actually with the bar scene. I tried to explain to her that not all Americans are like that. It didn't get to her. The point is that as much as that really bothers me and as much as I really want to change her mind, I have realized I can't. Instead, I have to let her be who she is and focus on my life.

Here we are looking ahead into the future, where I will be finding my fourth job in Korea. Wherever it will be I am going to take these lessons I have learned with me. Although I know I could end up facing the same issues again at a new school I am determined now to focus on the teaching job at hand, whatever it will be, and to keep the relationships in good condition.

Goodness... I sound so optimistic.

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to comment on this particular entry to say that the honesty you are showing to yourself and us readers is going to keep being beneficial. It isn't easy to dissect ourselves but we have to do it to figure out what the problem is so we can solve it.

    I want to tell you to let go of any grief you have from the first 5 months. Holding on to it is going to accomplish nothing positive for you. You can't go back in time and change it, so what's the point in letting it still be there? Let it go, I feel like that is what is hard for you. The just let it all go, not for them, but for yourself.

    Learn from it. but don't hold onto it, or the negative feelings it gave you. It's over and done with. I hope that this fourth time is a great fit for you on all levels. You won't be able to change most people's minds because that is their choice to change or stay the same. Let them be, and they'll let you be.

    Enjoy the next few weeks you have there, and when it ends leave with a smile and no bad feelings.


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