This year we're working at KNC Hyunjae Language Academy and the differences from last year are staggering. Remember how we had 10.5 hour workings days last year? And crazy winter intensive that lasted for 3 months? Or how our lesson plans included things like tearing up newspaper and popping balloons? Yeah, well those are definitely things of the past.
This year we're working with older kids (elementary and middle school aged) and we work 6 hours Monday- Friday. It's glorious. We have so much free time we're a little unsure what to do with ourselves at the moment. It's an evening job but we're not minding that since we tend to like staying up late anyway. So I work from 3pm-9pm and Matt works from 4pm-10pm. Nice! This school is apparently very famous for being serious, professional and giving students lots of homework. I would say that it definitely lives up to these assertions.
If there was a downside I would say that the school feels more impersonal to me. I mean, we are hardcore with our lessons and there is a strict no games/puzzles policy. Also, we test kids and they can change to a new level every 4-5 months. So I don't think I will know my students as well as last year since they will be changing levels more frequently and because we really don't have any time for small talk. Really though, I don't think it's possible for me to love any students as much as I loved the students at Little Brown so this is probably saving me from disappointment. The Little Brown kids were my first students and so they will always have a special place in my heart.
Right now things are a bit chaotic at work since we're a brand new school full of many new teachers so I am constantly learning how to do news things and do things better. I'm currently teaching 4 levels of students (all of the A level classes- which are the lowest level of English at the school) while the other foreign teachers have 2 levels each. And my classroom is upstairs and everyone else (except my coteacher and the Homework Room) is downstairs. So it's a bit weird and I feel a little out of the loop and isolated at times. This will all change soon though because they are hiring a new foreign and Korean teacher for March to take over A1 and A3 so I will be teaching A2 and A4 only.
We had Parents Night on Monday and it went really well. It was a little stressful for everyone I think since it's really important to get a lot of good publicity right now considering our school is new and there is a lot of competition between schools for students. I spent a lot of time standing there and smiling since a large portion of the meeting was in Korean. I did get to speak and my coteacher, Seon (a girl), translated. My impression was that the parents were happy with the meeting and a couple of the moms told Seon that their kids like me so that's good news.
As for the nuts and bolts of things. I have my very own classroom this year and I have a million PERSONAL BUSINESS CARDS. You have no idea how excited this makes me. It is possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen. Trust me, everyone is getting one whether they like it or not. And they seem to be good luck. The morning after I got my cards a girl talked to us on the subway briefly. I gave her a card and she found me on facebook. She seems really cool and I think we have a new friend. Success!
I should probably decorate my room a little bit but we'll see. Any suggestions? I think it needs to stay professional so I won't be putting butterflies and flowers up or anything. It's wonderful having my own classroom though!
Oh and the other two foreign teachers seem really nice! Their names are Will and Ryan and they're from Toronto area (and are childhood friends, actually). Hurray for no insane coworkers!