Contract Renewal

It’s that time of year when Fall intake EPIK teachers are asked if they’d like to renew their contracts…

I said no.

My CT was like, “Nooooo, whyyyyyyyyy.” I just gave her some offhand, vague reason like ohhh it’s personal and family-related (which is true actually).

To be accurate, it’s more like I don’t think I can stand another year in Korea. I don’t know if my mind could handle it. I have a looooot of things I want to say about my experience in Korea, but I won’t say it until I’m done with EPIK because I think I’m pretty contractually obligated atm not to say anything that could cause my school (or Korea in general??) to lose face.

This is another reason why I stopped writing this blog. I’ve lost a lot of my joy and purpose for writing about Korea. Look forward to my post near next March as I detail exactly why I decided not to renew! (lol)

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Do you ever…

get the feeling that you don’t deserve anything? Like, I’ll be in a good mood- whether it’s from a good day teaching at school and loving my students to even finding a funny blog post- and suddenly I’ll start thinking, “You shouldn’t be laughing at this. You shouldn’t be happy. Why are you laughing? Why are you happy?” And my mood will just 180 and I just want to drown myself in my music and never wake up.

1st Day of School!

So, 1st day of school! So exciting! Right? Yeah…so, I was told to take a taxi to my first day. I teach at two middle schools, my main school from Monday-Wednesday (2-3 classes per day, 2 morning conversational classes with the girl’s badminton team), the other from Thursday-Friday (5 classes per day). On Thursday, March 2nd, I went to my second middle school. It’s an all girl’s school up in the mountains. It’s rather old, but nice and quaint as it’s surrounded by greenery and you can see the Busan landscape and river below.

I didn’t do any teaching on my first day since it was just a day of assemblies and figuring out where to go. I did desk warming and started planning for classes after my initial introduction lesson.

The next day was my actual first day of teaching, which was…interesting. I co-teach with 3 different teachers at this school, which is basically one for each grade. The students were also all curious about me since they heard they’d have a “foreign teacher” and instead saw someone who looked Korean.

I started by greeting my students at the door before beginning my introductions. The students have a general understanding of directions but need extra help from my CT. My lessons revolved around introducing myself using pictures and having students make their own name tag based on my model. Here are some snippets of the highlights of my day!

These girls just crack me up sometimes. Anyways, after that I had about 10 minutes left so I used that time for them to ask me questions. Here are the many questions I received based on frequency:

  1. How old are you?
  2.  Do you have a boyfriend?
  3. Can you speak Korean?
  4. Why did you come to Korea?
  5. When did you come to Korea?
  6. Are you/your parents Korean?
  7. Tell us about your first love/kiss!
  8. How tall are you?
  9. When is your birthday?
  10. Do you have any siblings?
  11. Is your curly hair natural? (For those curious, the answer is yes)

Needless to say, I expected most of these questions hahaha. I think the only one that really surprised me is when they asked about my hair lol

I also received two nice water bottles from my vice principal! Now I’m at my desk planning my next lesson as I write this.

I went to my main middle school the following Monday. This school is within the city but on a hill. It’s not too small and the students are cute. The first year’s in particular are tiny and adorable. Hyper little pups! The second years are kind of dry and nihilistic…I almost wonder what happens to them from Year 1 to Year 2 that makes them change??

I was a bit nervous about teaching and now that I’m done with my first few days I feel a bit better. I do wish the students listened to my directions as well as they do to my CT’s directions, but I think that will change with time.

Some miscellaneous info about Korean schools: The main halls have no heating/cooling. It’s freezing in the hallways right now. The halls and classrooms are nice and warm. Also, you’ll need a pair of indoor shoes. I’ve seen people wear anything from bathroom slippers, crocs, sneakers, and even heels. I’m using a cheap 3,000 won pair of bathroom slippers and I’m a bit embarrassed by them after my CT laughed at them >_>. The lunches are buffet style and I’m relying on them for nutrients by stuffing myself with vegetables and then eating whatever is lying around my apartment for dinner (which is usually either rice or ramen). The school bell is a short song. I was a bit taken back by this because I’m too used to the boring monotone bells in America. There are always snacks and free coffee, which I indulge myself in as well. My school has no smartboards, just TV screens and projectors.

So yeah, more info about school life coming later!!

 

Beginnings

Hello, this is just a space for me to document my experience with EPIK. I just received my placement for the Spring 2017 term…and I’m going to Busan!!! I’m super excited!!! Although I requested Seoul, I would have been okay going anywhere that was at least suburban, so being placed in Busan is like a dream come true! So, I’ve decided to write down everything I go through because let me tell you…there are not enough posts detailing how to do simple things in many aspects of EPIK and of living in Korea (application process, taxes, health insurance, etc) in general. I hope to find the answers and share them so that it makes all of our lives easier. As such, I’ll go ahead and get started! Please do read my “About” page for more information 🙂