It’s been another adventuresome week. Ashley and I have started to expand our current mode of transportation. Yay for us! We are now using the taxi to get across town and using our new set of wheels to get around (we'll post pictures another time). Our vice principal was nice enough to provide a couple of bikes for us to use. Our bikes are right up there with Yolanda (Ashley’s former car) in terms of coolness. When we ride them however, people tend to laugh and point. We don’t know why exactly. We think we look pretty cute:).
The bulk of our time however, is in the Korean hagweon. When we first arrived to the hagweon, the students were pretty enamored with us. A few students lit up when they saw me because of my blue eyes. One student said I looked like an angel! Haha- I guess they don't see very many blue eyed people. The students are also pretty fascinated when they hear that Ashley and I are sisters! They even ask again, just to double check! Anyway- this past Tuesday we experienced a complete shift in our schedule. We are arriving to work around 8-8:30 in the morning and leaving a little after 6. It’s taken some time to adjust but we almost prefer this schedule more. We are actually given 2 hours for prep, (which helps a lot when you have 7-10 classes to prepare for) and lunch this time around. Ashley and I have developed a system too that has taken some tweaking, but has been working pretty well now. As some of you know, we were having a few problems in certain classes with behavior (those dang middle school boys :)). Anyway, we have found that most Korean students, especially the older ones, are over worked and thus do not want to be fully engaged in class. Realizing this, as well as their tendencies to speak mostly Korean in class, we came up with a system that at least from this week, is proving to work quite well. By encouraging the students to speak only English, it has actually cut down on half of the discipline problems. Also, we give students 5 stamps if they speak only English (no Korean), which is a good incentive, because the school provides a stamp party twice a year. The students can buy prizes and food with their stamps. We also start each class with 3 dashes on the board. If the students are being too noisy, or refusing to follow instructions, we erase a dash. If all the dashes are erased, the students have to stay after class for 5-10 minutes. (I’ve only done that twice and the students REALLY don’t like it!) If all three dashes are there towards the end of class, we play a game. I’m at the point now where most of my classes play a short game at the end. And of course, there are students that we have to send to detention if they don’t respond to the above, which doesn’t happen very often. We’re whippin’ those kids into shape! Not literally of course. We actually really enjoying teaching and the students are great! Sometimes, when I get them to play a game, I’ll give out prizes to the winner.
I don’t know if there is anyway to describe how different things are in the school system compared to the
It has been an interesting ride. We still have conflicting views and struggle with the system, but perhaps our perception will change over time. We are just trying our best to work with what we are given and reach out to our students within the time we have them, which is a lot of students. We have about 130-150 students total. There are 13 students on average in our classes. We’ll let you know how it goes when we have to make a report card for each student :). Thanks for staying tuned! I'm sure we'll have many more experiences and pictures to share!!