Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaching in Korea....6 Months Deep

So In one more week I will have officially been in S. Korea for 6 months now!....Wow how time flies!! I still wake up some mornings and still cant believe that I am living/working here.

So my next few blogs will be out of order...one I skipped a lot of events that happened since I've arrived here....and two I have been really lazy when it comes to updating my blog in a timely fashion. So here goes Blog: A Day in the Life of a Korean Student~

**Hagwon: (학원) A private academy in South Korea, i.e. not public schools. Foreigners who teach English in South Korea either work at a public school or a hagwon, though hagwons are not only for language. There are hagwons for all school subjects and a student will attend any kind of one depending on what subject that student's parents want him or her to focus on.**

That said, let’s have a look at the typical day in the the life of a fictional Korean middle school student.

My School Day, by Park Hyeun Jung. English Name: Hero

Monday to Saturday, I wake up around 6:30 to 7:00. Eat a quick breakfast of rice and seaweed soup, put on my uniform, and walk to school. Some of my friends have to take the city bus, but I’m lucky.

My classes are math, science, Korean language and literature, morality, social studies, English, physical education, music and art. Math is my favorite, though I like social studies, too. I do a couple hours of self-study in the morning. During this time I usually work on assignments from my afternoon classes.

At lunch, I get to talk to my friends.

I finish around three. When I leave, I’m pretty hungry. If I have any pocket money, I’ll buy some food from the old lady’s snack cart. I don’t get to eat until I get home.

After School

From three until five, I do self-study at the library. I try to finish up my hagwon homework. Some of it is pretty hard, but it’s helping me become a better student. Besides, if I don’t finish, the teachers will call my mother. That’s never fun.

I go to hagwons for math, science, and English, one each. Some of my friends go to two different hagwons for each subject.

Three days a week, I have English and math. Two days a week, science and Korean hagwon. I spend a couple hours at each one. In math, we’ve been working on geometry, and that’s pretty fun. English hagwon is okay, though the foreigner teachers smell funny. At least they don’t give too much homework. I think they’re lazy but I get to talk a little bit. For my Korean teachers, we mostly memorize vocabulary and translate articles.

After Hagwon(s)

I get home from the hagwons at about 10pm. I used to stay later, but the government recently passed a law that says all hagwons have to close by 10pm. At home, I’ll eat a little dinner with my family. Dad is usually home to eat with us, but sometimes he has to work late and I don’t even see him; he leaves before I’m awake and gets home after I’m in bed.

After dinner, I study and do homework. We recently moved to a bigger apartment so my sister and I could have a room just for studying. Tonight, she’s working on English homework; she has to translate four pages before class tomorrow.

I’ve got to get ready for a math test at the end of the week, so I’ll probably study until about one or two. I’m so tired, and all I want to do is sleep, but I’ve got to finish. My future will be ruined if I don’t.

Good Night

And we think we've got it bad in the States.....these kids have no social lives....chances to be kids, and to explore what their passions are and learn what they like and dislike!! Following article please read:

Time Magazine: Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone

At times I do feel bad and somewhat sorry for Korean children....but then I step back and realize that to them this is normal. This should not be considered normal AT ALL!!! But, who does not want their child to be the Best of the Best....to bad there is over 49,000,000 people in Korea that are all competing to be the Best of the Best.

On a better note I do feel as if I have been an impact, an eye opener, and a gardner....all while being able to teach here in Korea. An Impact, because most of my children have been very open and receiving of me, eye opener because the are always shocked when I tell them that I was born here and they cant understand if I was born here why is my skin so dark. And last but not least, a gardner...as a teacher we all plant a seed in each child we interact with on a daily basis. Its our jobs to water and feed that seed, and not all seeds become beautiful plants but you know you did your job when at least one seed has blossomed into a flower since the day you started teaching. Thats when I know Im happy with my Job here in Korea as a teacher...I leave you with a few pics of my workplace and my kids!

My School...ChungDahm Institute (CDI)

My Daily Ride in the building I live in....Its also home to 7 other Hagwon schools(competition)....Kids all day everyday!!!

One of my Favorite Classes Fall Term 2011

One of my Students Dressed in her Hanbok @ School