Those are a pair of shoes that I have worn every since I came to Korea. They have been my work shoes, because you change your shoes when you go to work here. I always said to myself I would get a different pair but I never bothered. They have seen me through 1 hagwon, 2 public schools and this last one. These shoes have taken me through a lot of drama and hard times, but also through fun experiences as well. I'm not going to take them back with me, so I suppose they can live here in Korea.
I might be preoccupied with leaving Korea, but I still have my job to do. These days the kids are finishing up the chapter on measuring. In a few weeks they will have their final tests and then it's a week and a half off for Christmas!
The measuring unit covers inches, centimeters and area. This kind of subject area is really straight forward but also can be expanded to cover talking about comparatives. Such as, "She is taller than me." So I have been integrating some basic English learning along with the target Math subject area.
For the past several weeks I have been teaching my students a scene from the play, "The Blind Men and the Elephant." It's an adapted version for EFL students and includes several songs which they dance to. For the most part I have been having fun teaching my students to sing, dance, speak loudly and act. However, doing it this time as a team leader adds on more challenges. There is pressure for the students to perform well, and it comes from the Korean side of the school. As foreign teacher's we know that we can do our best, but the students will decide in the end how to perform.
On October 20th and 21st Sookmyung Women's University held the 20th KOTESOL International Conference. During this time teacher's and ESOL enthusiasts gathered to see presentations ranging from topics such as mobile language learning to gaining more participation from students. Yet most importantly it felt like a time to celebrate the profession of teaching English as a second or foreign language.
I for one enjoyed the presentations I attended and especially found the conference well organized and entertaining.
We got our level testing done and unfortunately not much was changed in one class that needed it. However, the rest of the groups seem to be doing all right. A handful of students dropped out of my school, a few of which I was happy and sad to see go. There are some empty spots and I'm sure they will fill them up quick.
The first week of the Fall semester has flown by, and was all right. I started things off by giving one of our homeroom teacher's a gift for her baby. It was a nice soft blanket I found at a baby store. She was very surprised to get it from me. This is her first baby and I thought I would give her a gift to celebrate such an occasion. Later on in the week she came up to me in the lunch room and told me that her son slept very well with the blanket I gave her.
However, the humidity is here and the cicadas are buzzing away. My school doesn't allow the air conditioner on till 9:30 and then I can't keep it on if there are no kids in my room. Thankfully, my room is attached by door to one of the Korean homerooms. This guy doesn't mind breaking the rules and keeping the aircon running after hours. So I open that door and feel a nice cool breeze waft in.
Last night there was a mighty lightning and thunder storm. Although I mostly heard the thunder, since I sleep with an eye-mask on, it sure did a good job of rattling me. However, I like these types of extreme weather. It's something I missed when I moved to California from Florida, and is one of the reasons why I look forward to summer in Korea.
Today I completed my second time of open classes at my current school. When I went through this last year I was way more nervous. I really wanted to make a good impression last year, and so rolled out high energy and a lot of activities. This year, I was still a little nervous but seemed to calmly get through it.
Yesterday was a full day of learning what it will be like to be the team leader of the 2nd grade, at my school. It wasn't too bad, but of course started out with a hiccup. I arrived about 30 minutes early to rearrange the desks, and got this done. Then as I was heading back from a quick peek into a new teacher meeting there were students sitting in my room. I wasn't sure why, and after standing there for a while and seeing the parents outside I realized they were new students. They needed the level test and that is what they were waiting for.
I noticed something the other day while teaching my winter camp classes, and that is Korean kids love Youtube just as much as kids back home. Of course, this should come as no surprise as Korea is a very wired country. But I think seeing videos in the classroom has been a part of their lives since they started school. I for one have used a multitude of math-song videos and for fun, played those cutesy and catchy ones that get their attention.
An excellent evolution has occurred with the use of video in the classroom, and that is teachers making educational videos with their students. The forum waygook.org has already shown areas where teachers are integrating a video-creating lesson into their classes. Also, you catch teacher made videos on youtube with some that are awesome and others quite simple. Here for you are an example of teachers taking the video camera in the classroom and making it a fun tool for English education.