First Day of School

9:30 AM:  I AM AT SCHOOL AND AM USING THE OFFICE COMPUTER!!!!

Apparently because it’s the first day everything is weird with schedules so I’m not observing classes?  That’s what two teachers who are in charge of me said.  I can’t really figure it out, plus there’s a language barrier, so I can’t ask too many open-ended questions.
I just introduced myself to three first-grade (meaning 7th grade, first year of middle school) classes.  Earlier this morning I introduced myself to all the teachers in the teachers’ meeting and afterwards was filmed for a school-wide broadcast.  It was pretty awkward, but I just smiled and waved and said I was excited to be here.  No idea if the kids or the teachers had any idea what I was saying.

10:30 AM: Just got my schedule.  I’m only teaching 14 classes a week!  That’s because I’m only going to be teaching the 7th and 8th graders, not the 9th graders.  I’ll teach 8 first year classes (7th grade) and 6 second year classes (8th grade).  the grades are divided into different levels depending on English ability.

10:45 – 11:30 AM: I went to third period with one of my English co-teachers and I introduced myself to the kids e.  Then I saw a picture of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. in their classroom, along with pictures of other famous buildings in English speaking countries, so I asked them which picture in the room was of Washington, D.C.  The co-teacher translated everything for me, because the kids really looked lost.  I asked them what building it was, and the kids took a few guesses that were incorrect, before I finally told them it was the Capitol building, which is where Congress is and where laws are passed.  Some kids just stared at me while other kids didn’t seem to be paying attention at all.  The co-teacher told me it was okay, they were just shy.  I tried to ask them if they understood anything I said by saying “Show me 5 fingers if you understood everything, 1 finger if you understood nothing, or somewhere in between.”  The co-teacher had to translate that too!  Some of the kids held up 1 or 3 fingers, but some kids didn’t do anything.  Apparently there’s not usually any teaching the first day of class, so the co-teacher and I just hung out and talked while the kids slept or talked.  I’m a little discouraged because these students in are the second-highest English level.  The co-teacher told me that some of the kids in the lowest level don’t even know the alphabet.  Yikes!

11:45 – 12:15 – Lunch in the cafeteria with one of my English co-teachers.  I had rice and some sort of crab-potato-corn dish that wasn’t spicy.  There was kimchi, spicy pork, and spicy soup as well.  Cultural difference- none of the other people eating drank water with their meal!  My co-teacher picked up a cup of water on the way out after he was finished eating.

1:15: Big meeting with all the teachers in the school, including the high school teachers.  The ETA at the high school and I both introduced ourselves.  In Korean I said “My name is Lyz.  I’m from Washington, D.C.  I’m learning Korean.  Nice to meet you.”  Naturally I messed up on nice to meet you (it’s actually supposed to be ma-na-saw pan gop-sup-nee-da) because I wanted to memorize it and not just read it.  Both everyone clapped anyone, as they probably thought it was super cute that I was trying to speak Korean.

By that time the day was just about over.  At a little after 3pm by host sister came to the teacher’s office and picked me up, and we took the bus home from school.  By bus, I mean two buses.  It’s a good thing I’m going with her, because I would have had no idea where to get off and where to walk to get the next bus.

So my first day is complete!  There was no teaching, but I learned where everything was located and got to meet the teachers.  Success!

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