Teacher, can I speak Korean?

image

Its Saturday and I have just had the longest sleep in ever. This week has gone so fast! It has been so stressful but an enjoyable week. I think I’m finally getting to grips with the schools curriculum, which is great I was starring to feel like I would never begin to understand it.

I feel like I’ve experienced so much this week. This week has definitely had its ups and downs but I think I’m finally feeling like I’m settling in. It’ll take more than a week I know that, but I feel I’m finally getting my body clock switched to Korean time. I’m eating more. (when I’m stressed, I don’t feel like eating) and I’m starting to feel tired which means I now know when to let my body rest. These sound so simple, but sometimes when you’re stressed you forget to take care of your body. There has been so much going in this week and my brain doesn’t know how to handle it.

image

The food was amazing, but VERY spicy. Every day all the teachers order food for break time, i cant remember the name of what this was.Then one of the Korean teachers gave me one of these fruit drinks. She said it was healthy, I don’t know but it was nice!

image

Teaching is going really well. ^^

Yesterday was such a long day, I woke up at 6:45, and one of the Korean teachers came to pick me up at 8:15 because we were taking a trip to a nearby city to visit a hospital. I had to get my medical check done so that I could apply for an alien registration card in Korea. Then I can open a bank account. I was so nervous, it was a full medical check, bloods and urine samples for drug testing too. I don’t like having my blood taken, but yesterday I didn’t even feel it.

image

After visiting the hospital, we drove back. The drivers here are crazy, they just don’t look before they turn. It seems like all the drivers here are rushing to get somewhere fast. The seem very impatient. Also, they drive on the opposite side to England, its very disorientating at first.

When we got back we had a teachers lunch at a noodle restaurant. They tasted so good and they were so filling. The portions sizes are so large here. I think mine cost around 5000 won which is really cheap. 🙂 I was so surprised when it came to the table. They give you rice too? As well as noodles? I got the noodles in chicken broth. During the meal it certainly challenged my chopstick abilities. I thought I was really good with using chopsticks, but not with these noodles. I can’t wait to go back and have these again. 🙂

image

After the work meeting, we had a workshop session then I had five lessons to teach. This week has been so challenging, but I think I will become more relaxed as the weeks go on.

The children in my classes are super adorable. Most of them work really hard and are well behaved in lessons. In class my school practice’s a NO KOREAN POLICY. If they speak Korean in lessons I have to take 3 stickers off them. The stickers add up then at the end of term the school had like a system where they can buy different things with the stickers. A lot of the time the students know that they shouldn’t speak Korean, if they need to speak Korean for any reason they say to me, teacher, can I speak Korean? They can earn stickers through good homework, and good work in lessons. The lessons finish at 50 mins past the hour and at 47 we do sticker time. So they bring their sheets that have little square boxes on them and I write H for Hannah. Some student earn 2 stickers per lesson, some earn 20. It all depends on their work and progress. I think its a great system for the younger students because they know they’re going to get a great prize for all of these stickers, therefore they work harder and they definitely deliver the results.

I’m going to make sure I catch up on my sleep this weekend so I will be fully charged to take on next week! Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

– Hannah

Hello! I love you!

My first weekend is coming to an end so let’s conclude the past few days.

I arrived at my school on Friday afternoon. I was warmly greeted by around 20 students whom of which I will be teaching tomorrow afternoon. I was then taken to the staff room where I met the other teachers who I had either spoke to on Skype or via email before arriving in Korea. They were super nice to me and I was just so glad to be here after the stress of my visa these past few weeks. The director of the school then asked me if I would like to rest in my apartment for a few hours because I was tired from all the travelling. I agreed because let’s be honest, I was knackered. Plus falling asleep on the buses on the way here was not that restful. I remember, in between nodding off, I kept thinking “please say I’ve not missed my stop” luckily, but I didn’t realise this at the time, where I’m staying was the last stop. I like to think that the bus driver wouldn’t just leave me on the bus and drive off right?

After a short power nap in my apartment it was time to head downstairs to out for dinner with the director of the school and my colleagues. Another woman (also called Hannah) was leaving to move to Seoul and Friday was her last night. So it was like a joint celebration of me arriving and the other Hannah’s goodbye meal. We didn’t go far, just two shops away from the school and we had a Korean BBQ and beer. Let me tell you, I’ve seriously never tasted food as good as this EVER!

image

Doesn’t it look beautiful?

It was a really great evening and I had fun. I need to go back again sometime soon!

The next morning I woke up feeling quite adventurous. I looked outside and it was a beautiful day and I needed to go shopping. I was lucky my director bought me some cereal, milk, eggs, water, orange juice, crackers, bananas, some berries and sausages. What else could I need? Well to get me started, she pretty much covered everything I needed for a couple of days. But I didn’t realise until after I had gotten out of the shower on Friday evening, I didn’t have a towel! Fantastic! Luckily because its so hot and humid here, you can pretty much air dry in no time at all.

So a trip to Emart was needed!

Of course I didn’t know the way, one of the other teachers was going to take me but she had work to do. Since I was feeling brave this is what I did. She called me a taxi, wrote down what I needed to say to the driver. I got in the taxi, got to Emart, paid the 5000 won (£3.50) and got on my way into the shop. Normally, in England, shopping makes me anxious. The people make me anxious. In Korea, I actually found it quite relaxing. It was really bizarre. I said to myself on the way, if I don’t like it and I start to feel uncomfortable, then I can just get a taxi back to the apartment, its no big deal!  Instead I spent ages in there, I looked around every section. Because I don’t have a phone that works here, I went to the customer service desk and asked them to call me a taxi, which they did. I got back in the taxi and went back to the apartment.

Today (Sunday) I planned to do something a little different. I wanted to walk somewhere. Inside I ran into my director and she said she needed to go to Emart and asked if I wanted to come along. I agreed and we rode bikes there. Hannah who left the previous day had given me her bike which I was so grateful for. It was such a lovely bike ride to Emart, we rode along the river. I’ll remember next time to take pictures to put on here. What I’ve noticed already is that people stare, its not in nasty and horrible way, they’re just curious. I live in a city with 20 foreign people and I’m new, they’ve not seen me before. I first noticed it in the airport when two guys were saying, oh look its an American person, to which I answered no I’m English and they just smiled. I think they saw my passport too. They didn’t realise that I would understand what they were saying. (I get points for learning Korean beforehand yes?) I was really funny though! They smiled as if to say, oh dear she’s onto us! The second time was when I got on the bus from Gangnam. I was just casually doing a word search in my travel book and I look up and this older lady is just staring at me. I look at her and she just keeps staring. But when I smiled, she looked away. How odd! I told one of the teachers about it when I got here and she just said to me, its because they’re curious. And the third time, which I think is the most funniest, when I was riding back from Emart with the director today, we past a couple of older men. As we rode by one of them said to me, hello, so I said hello back. Then he said I love you! (Its funnier when you hear it in a Korean accent.) Myself and the director just laughed. Older people are so funny here!

When we got back, the director asked if I wanted to meet her friend and I was like, sure. She came over to the school (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I live right above the school) we ended up talking for ages and ages. But it was nice. She asked if I could teach them English properly. They can speak it but not fluently. I of course agreed and asked for Korean lessons in return which they also agreed to. 🙂

I’ve not done much this evening though. I’ve tried to relax as I start teaching tomorrow afternoon. I’ve done some preparation for tomorrow. If Friday is anything to go by, the children have a lot of energy!

Fingers crossed tomorrow goes well. Its gone midnight here in Korea and I need to sleep. I’ll hopefully post more tomorrow. 🙂

– Hannah