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More from Seoul Dukeui Elementary School

March 20, 2011

Seoul Dukeui Elementary School: where students bow at my presence.  No, really…they do.

Sadly, I am not that special because the students bow for all the teachers.   What does make me special is that I am the only foreigner working at the school (like most EPIK teachers) and when the students see me it is a constant bow and “HELLO TEACHER!” “Jessica Teacher, hi hi hi hi!”.  (for some reason “_____ teacher” is what the students call us here) While eating with the other teachers in the cafeteria, I try to avoid eye contact with any creature under 5 ft tall.  If I look up and make eye contact with one of the students, I will be too busy waving to actually eat.

I work 8:50-4:50 Monday through Friday, and during that time I have about 22 classes to teach each week.   The 22 classes are split up into 3rd, 4th and 6th grade and I see each class once a week.  Basically I see around 600+ students a week.  For each grade I teach with a different co-teacher (it would be technically illegal if the co-teacher was not in the classroom with me while teaching since I am not an actual certified teacher in Korea).  With my 3rd and 6th grade classes the co-teachers and I usually work together to plan and teach the class.  In my 4th grade class, the co-teacher has given me the task of planning the whole lesson and delivering it myself.  I am completely fine with planning the classes myself, but it gets very frustrating when I get to my first 4th grade class of the week ready with a great plan that will take up all 40 mins and that particular co-teacher says, “Oh yea, I forgot I need to give them a quiz it’ll take 20 mins….”.  When this happened I had to tell her that I was sorry and that wasn’t possible.  This particular class  can be very frustrating at times.  Luckily my 3rd and 6th grade classes and co-teachers are very easy and fun to work with.

This all may seem like a lot of work but it is actually pretty simple.  Since I only teach 3 grades, I only give  3 different lessons each week.  One for all the 3rd, one for all the 4th and one for all the 6th grades.   Usually the first class I have with each grade is an experiment and by the last class it is down to a T.  In the last few hours of the day I have time to lesson plan and prepare for the next day.  There are a few days a week that I really do not need this extra time, and I just chat on Facebook, listen to music and try and learn some Korean aka “desk-warming”.

Last week, I took my camera to lunch to document the experience.  I’ve included a picture of what a normal lunch in the cafeteria is like.  When I took out my camera to get a picture of it that particular day all the teachers said, “But this is not a pretty one! Doesn’t look that nice!”.   I told them people will be interested back home either way and they shouldn’t worry.  This day we had tofu, 2 types of kimchi, seaweed soup, rice and a little yogurt drink.  Everyday I am sure there will be some type of rice, soup and kimchi.  For those of you who know about my Ecuador experience, and how I had to eat rice and soup twice a day for 3 months, you know I swore that I would never make myself eat rice and soup everyday ever again.   Thankfully, the rice here is moist (in Ecuador is was very dry) and the soups are very diverse and delicious.  (Sorry Ecuador…Korea just has better cuisine! Well, A LOT better…)  Over the course of the week, I had vegetable soups, a clam soup and fish soup etc.  And besides tofu, the different proteins I had included fish, duck, beef and even octopus!   For some of the other English teachers I have heard that all these strange things have made lunch time difficult for them.  As for me, I welcome the diverse variety of food and even if it looks bad, my school has proven that it will always taste good.

Here are some pics with my 3rd graders….

One of my 4th grade classes…

One of my 6th grade classes…(they were a little too cool to pose for the pic)

Overall, teaching has been awesome so far.  It’s a great job and the kids at my school are awesome.  They are so cute and pretty well behaved.   It always feels  good when the students are so excited to see me around school or when I get into the classroom.

For anyone who doesn’t know exactly what job to get after college, or you just want to move out of the country…I would really recommend teaching here.  Anyone can do it and as long as you like kids and can capture their attention it is a great job!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessie permalink
    March 20, 2011 6:22 pm

    Great blog! Keep the coming, Love you, Mom

  2. Trish Belknap permalink
    March 22, 2011 7:31 pm

    Hi Jessica! I am really enjoying your blog and I am so happy for you! Sounds like you are having a great experience. Looking forward to reading more 🙂


  3. March 25, 2011 11:39 pm

    Aw, I love this!! Your pictures are really awesome, looks like you’re working in a super nice school!

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