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1 June 2005
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KLB - Open Class

Any teacher's worst nightmare is to have to teach in front of parents. Especially if you're in Korea. Well, once again today was "open-class". That meant that all the parents of the children in all of my classes were free to come in and observe. I'd been dreading it for the past month. Just as I did the last time we had one. But like the last time, it turned out really good and it gave me an opportunity to show how how much progress I've made with their kids.

Can you imagine yourself teaching for 50 minutes in front of this crowd? Look at the serious expressions on their faces. It was really intense at first but after awhile I managed to get them laughing. At one point I almost teered up. The students were on their best behavior and did a fantastic job. I was so proud of them. After my A-class Bonnie remarked that my students are among the best she's seen. Yeah right! - she should be there on a Friday when no parents are around!

I didn't think it was going to be a good day, to be honest. I got to the school about 20 minutes before class and this kid was running all over and screaming. Then he ran up behind me and slapped my back as hard as he possibly could. It actually hurt! Bonnie and his mother just look on and smiled as if to say, "Oh, how cute." I was tempted to throw his ass out the window. He's bad 98% of the time, but fortunately today he was on his best behavior during the class - meaning he only acted like a twerp 50% of the time.

I was so prepared for this open-class I could have taught the kids for 2 hours. After the initial shock wore off, I started getting into it and even enjoyed myself. I felt really good about the progress I've made with them.

Here I am telling some kid to get out and never come back. No, seriously I'm teaching phonics in this pic. Look at these kids. They're totally involved in the lesson. Who's your teacher! Yah!

I taught every class a new song for today. When I first came to Korea singing in front of people terrified me. After awhile, however, I started to enjoy karaoke rooms and nowadays I'm always trying to drag people to them against their will. Kids in Korea love to sing and I teach them a lot of songs. I made each class line up in front of the parents and sing. I sang along too. The parents got a kick out of this.

Here I am meeting the parents after class. I was telling them how important it is their children practice English at home...I don't think anybody understood me, including poor Ally who was wishing she was anywhere but there.

Phew, one class down but three more to go. You can see I look so thrilled!

B class went just as well as A with a few minor interruptions from the usual two trouble makers. I'll get revenge tomorrow, hehe. Minus stickers! In this picture I am teaching phonics again. Like A class, this group can read and spell almost any combination of three and four letters. It took awhile and a lot of frustration, but I'm happy they can read an so are the parents.

Hey, help me out here kid - your father is giving me the evil eye. What am I doing here? Why did I decide to be a teacher? I wish I could go back in time and change majors and, whoa! - class is over. That wasn't so bad! I love my job!

Well, there you have it. Open-class. I'm glad I brought along John's camera. I had almost forgotten to do so. I also managed to take a load of pictures on the way home which I will post over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Oh, by the way, after class Bonnie thanked me over and over for doing a good job. Even though the parents looked so serious all day, they gave the thumbs-up to my performance and said a lot of nice things. Also, it turns out some of the parents were just there to see the program and, impressed, they signed their kids up for next semester.

You can imagine then why Bonnie was thrilled. She begged me to consider staying at the job. I told her I need to get out of the country for a month and she said it was no problem, that she would put in a replacement instead of another teacher if I promise to come back. She would cancel her remaining interviews. After thinking it over I agreed. That way I won't have to worry about my visa or anything like that and I'll have a sure thing lined up for when I return.

So, I'll take a month off then return to Korea and stay on until the end of the contract in September. That works out perfectly. Since I'm not jetting until next Friday, I also agreed to teach until Wednesday and she will pay me for the three extra days along with my month's salary. She was so happy she even drove me all the way back to Gangnam and promised to take me to the dinner of my choice before I leave. I can almost taste the lobster, steak and expensive wine...she also kept offering me all of these high paying jobs working for the Board of Education if I decide to stay in Korea after this contract. And to think, I had contemplated not getting off the train this morning!


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