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19 January 2005
South Korean Flag

KLB - Three for Three

Three days down, three good days. Been a great week so far. The kids were much better today (no snow) and Cathy hasn't bothered me. In fact she's been unusually helpful lately. She put together a nice phonics booklet for the kids, which they do for homework and then we review together.

It's weird that I find myself looking forward to going to work when I had dreaded this schedule so much. I had no idea that I actually like teaching, much less in the morning - something I haven't done in 4 years. Also, I find it even stranger I like these long classes. It takes a long time to teach phonics, and you need to do it every day. Already my students are able to read simple words. Whereas before they all failed the phonics tests, now they pass with flying colors. Today I tested them on vowel sounds. Every kid scored 100. That made me feel good.

After yesterday's scolding, Class C was perfect today. I had them play "charades" using the question "what am I doing?" I can't believe how much they got into that. One kid went a little overboard. He came to the front of the room and squatted like he was taking a dump. "What am I doing?" he grunted. After the laughter died down, I answered "You're losing stars!" And I erased two stars from his team's square on the board - which drew more laughter except, of course, from his teammates. Even though the charade was funny, it's best to cut that behavior off before the other students think it's OK to be crude.

It's such a good feeling to enjoy your job. I never knew that feeling before. That's why, even though I teach the same kids every day for nearly two hours each class, the time flies by. I think all of the experience I've had teaching in Korea has culminated to this point. Finally I can use my experience in an environment that is conducive to teaching/ learning rather than to making money - though there's still a little of that drawback; the kids parents do pay for this program. Even so, I have an opportunity to teach kids English, rather than a desire to hand out word-search puzzles and fantasize about a better life. Plus the money is great.

It occurred to me today that I wish I had this schedule every month for the same pay. If they offered that at this school, I'd take it in a second. Unfortunately, I go back to just 3 hours/day next month for regular pay (which isn't too bad either, but this is a lot better). We'll see. My contract technically expires at the end of February, but my visa, sponsored by the school, runs another 6 months after that. If there are no problems (the English program that was there before us flopped within a month) the school will renew with the agency and I can stay on. I'm not sure if I will, but if the agency offers me a salary instead of an hourly wage, I just may. It's going to be hard to say goodbye to these good kids.


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