Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'm here!!!

I made it all the way down here and have settled in fairly well.  My host family is super nice and welcoming.  It is tricky to communicate sometime but we make do!  I have a grandma who is always laughing and shares a bathroom with me, a police officer/yogi father, a middle school teacher mother, a crazy smart 5th grade girl, and twin 3rd grade boys who pound food down even harder than I do!  I am able to talk a little with the mother (with the help of her phone translator), a bit more with the father (so incredibly eager to learn!), and conversational-ish with the 5th grade girl so it's pretty good!  I haven't done much Korean yet because mine is so poor but I read them my speech that I am giving to the teachers tomorrow and they seemed impressed (even though the grandma was smiling and laughing the whole time).  They are going to take me to a picnic by the sea on Saturday and then an Ice Hockey lesson (or possibly game that I will participate in?!) on Sunday night.  The foreigner community in Gwangyang is famous for being one of the tightest and coolest around and have already invited me to a shindig.  I'm probably going to pass because my host fam may or may not have already made plans for me.  But yeah everyone has been pretty awesome thus far.

The school is great too.  It is an all-boys high school that has 700ish students.  I'm teaching 15 classes of the U.S. equivalent of sophomores and juniors, 3 club classes (extra curriculars to help out the most advanced students who might be a bit bored in the other classes), and 2 hours of a teacher workshop.  Still not 100% sure what this all entails.  I think it is either a literature type discussion or teaching strategies discussion.  I really don't know so I'll probably just wing it haha.  I sat in on one class and it was great!  I didn't understand all of what was going on since most of the instruction was in Korean but it was good to see students in that type of environment.  Most were paying attention but there were a couple of sleepers but the teacher would be sure to wake them up each time.  Except for one student which I was surprised about.  She told me later that he is a Taekwondo student and she and the other teachers let them sleep since they have to have their physical strength for the afternoon and they aren't taking the high-stakes tests.  Not sure if I completely agree with this philosophy, but I am not really here to completely change the culture of the school and this sounds like it is something that wouldn't change easily.  For now, I will just go with the flow but we'll see about down the road.  

Oh that graduation ceremony!  Well basically we all graduated (some of us with higher grades than others) and it was pretty good.  Then we did our presentations.  Some people did skits and others did videos.  My class did both.  Our first video didn't fly with some of the teachers and they said it was too similar to the intermediate class.  Unfortunately, we only had 5 days to until we performed it in front of everyone and half of that time we would not see our teacher at all.  And the majority of it had to be a skit which was especially bad for me seeing how I had to have romanized cue cards to film the movie.  Luckily, I was able to be in the movie part mostly and my presence on stage was limited to beeping and forming an "O" with my hands.  Oh and we had a dance number.  Those of you who are fortunate enough to still have eyeballs after seeing me dance know that I am not exactly the best and most coordinated dancer.  It was pretty much a mess but our teacher got up on stage and completely stole the show.  He is a crazy good dancer and was going nuts with his half improv half choreographed dance.  I think I may have accidentally stopped dancing and just stared for a few beats.  But the crowd loved it so I guess that's what matters!  

Alrighty, I am heading to bed.  I was told that my room was formerly my host sisters room.  I felt bad for taking it but I think she is sharing her parents room so the twins don't terrorize her in her sleep.  And I have hello kitty bed sheets.  I love it here.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to hear that you have a great host family. That should make the year go smooth. Sounds like a challenging and fun school year in store. Thanks for the fine blogs - I let everyone know via Grandma's daily email when you update a post since most don't have facebook accounts (I don't think anyway).

    Have a great first week - talk to you soon!