March 24, 2015
Whether you are a friend or family member from home and you want to know what I’m doing when it’s 1:00AM your time, or you are an aspiring ESL teacher and are curious as to what Korean kindergarten-elementary days may look like, this post is for you! (TL;DR at the bottom)
Below is a picture I took of the laminated schedule I prepared for myself.
This probably looks a little confusing to you. Let me clear some things up. (Follow the link to see more!)
- We work from 9 am to 6 pm, which are the same hours I worked (got paid for) in America. The kids don’t start rolling in until around 9:30 or so. At that time, we need to greet them and help them get settled (take off/hang up coats, turn in homework, etc.). Shortly after, one of the foreign teachers needs to lead the morning stretches/exercises. I may be the one doing that on any of the days listed as “warm-up” above.
- Kindergarten runs from 9:50am to 2:30pm. The letters after the kindergarten class titles, ie: Reading – O, indicate the class I am teaching. O stands for Orion which is my 7 year old homeroom class. A, or, Aquarius is my 4 year old homeroom class. I think most teachers only teach their homeroom classes during the main block of “kindy,” but since I have the 4 year old’s and they have fewer foreign teacher classes, I also teach speaking to a 6 year old class, Leo.
- Grape T stands for Grapeseed Toddler. Grapeseed is an oral language acquisition program.
- S. Brain-Up stands for Special Brain-Up. It’s like a recess period for my Orion class, except it’s structured play time to help them learn. I am involved, either participating or guiding, as opposed to free play. Today we played “rock, tree, bridge” which utilizes language like “jump over,” “circle 2 times,” “go under,” etc.
- We eat lunch with the kids in the classroom, complete with continual “Teacher, may I have more kimchi/rice/anchovies/pork, please?”
- Much like the warm-up, I am required to help monitor the brain-up (recess) time on MTF. Today I got my hair braided by a couple of the girls. It was very sweet!
- I teach cooking to all the classes. Every week is a new recipe. This is my greatest challenge.
- Elementary starts at 2:30pm. These kids have already had a full day at school but their parents pay for them to have further English education after school (sports? dance? what?). All of these classes (in kindy also) are supplemented by a Korean teacher teaching phonics to the students.
- The beginning levels start with W1, which I teach along with W2, every MWF. These are very basic classes starting with learning how to say hello, my name is X in W1, and months of the year/ordinal numbers/holidays in W2. They are challenging, however, because while their English skills are not fully developed, their attitudes are. Any stereotypes of Korean students are not present here (or anywhere).
- The U classes are at a higher level, U3 being in the middle and U6B being the highest level. These classes are really a joy to teach because we can communicate very well.
- I teach a “Reading for Vocabulary” textbook to my U6 MWF, which has been a lot of fun. The first unit we are currently working on is all about economics, so I actually teach them about supply & demand, money, etc. It’s a great class. I supplement the book with my own worksheets and quizzes. These kids are so smart!
- For U6B and U3A, we discuss “Time for Kids,” the magazine. We go into depth about various articles and we can also take the kids to the computer room to look up more information/see pictures or video on the Internet related to the content. The 2 issues I am working with include articles on Mexico and Chichen Itza so I got to show them pictures from my recent visit!
- As you can see, I am responsible for basically the most beginning levels and most advanced levels in both kindergarten and elementary.