I went out drinking last night with some other program members and Korean kids. That was a mistake, but one I knew full well I was making. I nearly fell asleep multiple times in Korean class and found my mind drifting along in a fog, wondering how teaching would go today. After class I had an hour to get my materials together, change into nice pants and a tie, and print out the necessary worksheets. As the printer just happened to be broken today of all days (natch), I spent most of that hour scrambling to find another way to print my two dozen pages of American holidays.

Class was … okay. I still talk too fast and the worksheet was too hard for them. Or so they said. The Camp Instructor informed that they had done much harder work and were just being bratty. Which is understandable, as today is the last day of Camp and they probably just want to get the hell out. I know I would. We played a guessing game of American holidays afterward which most of them really enjoyed, and they enjoyed the prize of chewy candy even more. So it balanced out. I’m just happy it’s done. Back to endless workshops for the next couple weeks.

This new CI echoed the sentiments of the previous one – I’m too laid back. I don’t know if I just need to be louder or what, but being hungover sure as hell didn’t help. I guess everyone has their own teaching style. I also don’t smile, or at least not enough. I can’t feign happiness. It’s not in my nature. But I guess I’ll have to learn. The CI said smiling was even more important than the lesson (unlikely) because it’s how you connect with students. If you’re personable and happy, you’re approachable. If you’re a dour-faced white man in his late 20s, you’re not. Makes sense. I’ve heard it before.

Next week our placements are announced. I asked for an urban high school, preferably in or near Busan. I would not be surprised if I got a rural placement on the west coast or something. There’s no telling, apparently. Almost none of the already active teachers in the program who came to speak to us got their placement choice. What factors drive placement decisions are unknown, to us at least. In retrospect, maybe I should have been an elementary teacher instead of a secondary teacher. Older kids bore more easily and are prone to have an attitude if their interest is not being sustained. With elementary kids you can just let them run around and make sure they’re screaming in English while they do it. Oh well, live and learn.

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