Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If you're comfortable, you're not growing

This quote, "If you're comfortable, you're not growing," was spoken by the wise Mrs. Shim.  I think this describes my stay fairly well.  I am not 100% comfortable with everything around me, but I think I am adjusting well.

School is awesome.  I really like my students and all of the co-teachers and teachers are great.  They are very helpful and the students are all very interested.  It might be because I am still new and they are just curious, but so far they are pretty good.  Their English levels are not the best, but most of them are able to shout out some words here and there.  These classes are definitely not the typical school environment.  The students are chattering a lot, but it is mostly in English or Korean to help explain to others or work out what I am trying to tell them in least thats what my co-teachers say and that's what it looks like.  I know some of my ETA pals are trying to get students to raise their hands and be quiet when others are speaking and all of that, and this definitely works in some environments, but I would rather have students at least practicing their English or helping each other and keeping a high energy level.  My co-teacher is impressed with how loud I am and says that it can scare the students into doing what I want them to do haha.  I am really liking it so far and I think that the trend will continue, as long as I put in the effort to get to know them and to keep the lessons fun and interactive.

I also had my first teacher workshop.  These are little workshops where the English teachers and I read an article from a newspaper (usually about an education topic or something similar...this week it was merit-pay) and we discuss a book.  Today we picked a book!  I offered a few choices and the one that they decided would be best is Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  I'm pretty excited because it is an interesting book and I think the level is about right.  Enough for them to understand, but it will give them a challenge too.  I am really looking forward to these workshops!

I am also going to start teaching club classes next week!  Club classes are basically extra classes for the really advanced English learners who may need more of a challenge than the regular lesson.  I have three club classes, which is a lot, most ETAs do one, but I am getting a little extra compensation so that's exciting.  I also volunteered to teach an English class to all the teachers in the school that are interested.  It will only be an hour a week so it is not a big deal and it is a great way to build jeong, a strong relationship with my co-workers. 

The homestay has been going well of course.  My host-father apparently signed up for an English academy that he is going to be doing.  He is so eager to learn.  It's great to see.  Today was the twins' birthday!  I believe Young-Jun is one minute older than his brother Young-Chan.  They are both super attached to each other and are fun to be around.  When I offer to do something or buy something, they are always the first to be shout "No, no, no, no, no, no, no!"  The boys and their older sister, Hui-Chan, looooove to play Monopoly.  I brought it from the States for them and they are definitely big fans haha.  They told me they have a Korean version of the game, but they play it differently so that it is shorter (once no more properties can be bought, the game is over!). 

But there are some things that I am still adjusting to.  For example, I am still trying to adjust not being around my pals all the time.  The closest ETA is like 45ish minutes away and the closest group of them are about an hour away.  I haven't really seen anyone yet which is a bummer (except for Elaine's little video message!  Loved it!!!!!).  I love helping others with their English, but there are times where I just want to talk like I naturally do instead of slowing everything down and using simple vocab.  I am also adjusting to living with a homestay family and making sure that I am balancing the home life, school life, and personal life well.  Right now, the personal life has been put to the side for a little while I am still in the settling in phase, but I am definitely seeing that this cannot go on for too long.

But like Mrs. Shim said, If you're comfortable, you're not growing!  I am definitely taking steps outside my comfort zone and most days, it seems like I am just flying by the seat of my pants, but that's what makes it exciting.  I came here looking for adventure and adventure is what I am finding.


  1. WHOOP WHOOP!!! Sounds like everything is going well. Just so you know Grace let out a loud WHOOP WHOOP at the wall the other day on accident. Oh and your crabs are still displayed in the shed!

  2. Wow, you're going to read And Then There Were None with your teachers? I'm actually jealous about that! My English department is made up of three people, including myself. I don't know if we'll end up doing a book club, even though I'd love to. And the other teachers at my school do not have a high enough level to even hold a decent conversation...

    Anyway, sounds like you're adjusting well! I haven't been able to meet up with any other ETAs yet, but I hardly think about that because there are so many other things to do first. If I don't make it out to Gwangju where we could meet up... see you at Fall Conference!

  3. hahaha i love it! I havent done a whoop whoop in forever haha. Miss yall at camp!

    And yes I am stoked about the book discussion! I guess last semester they did things fall apart. Hopefully ill catch you in busan or gwangju!! Hope you are loving your school!