Thursday, September 07, 2006

First day of school...

As I near the end of my first week of school, I thought it appropriate to finally update my blog. Monday the 4th, I was traded off like a relay baton. The lady who was hosting me took me to the Geoje Education Office (AKA the district office). Then, I waited until 9:30 when a teacher from my main school, Seong Po Middle School came to pick me up. We arrived at my school where she handed me off to the Principal, Vice Principal, and my co-teacher, a younger woman who speaks the best English of any Korean I've met thus far.

After a short meeting, I was escorted to an assembly in my honor. All of the teachers and the students were gathered in the gym, standing in neat rows to greet me at the school. I said a few words while my co-teacher translated. The principals then began a tour of the school with me. However, our tour was interrupted when the teacher who had driven me to the school opened her classroom door and asked me to come inside.

I naively entered, and then was told, "teach." I thought she was joking. However, once I saw the stubborn look on her face, I realized she was not. So, I had a classroom full of 12-13 year old students waiting intently for me to teach them. It goes without saying that I was not prepared for this guerilla "learning assault." I muddled my way through an introduction, asking them how old they were, etc.

The rest of the day I went in and was introduced to a few more classes, got my workstation, and was told they did not know the schedule yet. I was a little annoyed at this, but by the end of the day, I realized none of the teachers knew what their schedules were. See, the school year begins here in March and runs through July. The students have a break in August, and begin their second semester right around the time American students start their first. So, I came in the middle of the school year and apparently they are switching things around (why I do not know).

I finally have my schedule. I'll be here at Seong Po Middle School Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then two different schools on Tuesday and Thursday (I get to have "first days" there next week.)

Despite feeling a little more comfortable here and feeling like a teacher, I still get the rockstar treatment as I walk around school. The boys bow at me as I walk by, and when I leave, they hang out the windows and shout, "Bye-bye Mr. Friel." I've even had some bold girls come up to me and say, "You are so handsome," and then run off giggling. It can definitely be awkward. Overall, the other teachers are nice, the school surroundings are amazingly beautiful. I think I'm going to like it here.

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