Can you believe it's already November? I've been in Jeju for a few months now. It's crazy!
Thankfully I've fallen into a bit of a routine, which has been helpful to lessen the homesickness and desire to just sleep the days away. However, I got sick around my birthday and have now lost my voice. I thought I was getting better but now with no voice, I'm a bit confused.
For this blog entry, I really want to stress the importance of having a schedule and how beneficial it can be. I don't always follow exactly, as it can vary during the week but I will talk about my schedule and what works for me. It is different for everyone, but I need some structure in my life, especially when I don't have as many familiar people around me for support.
My days normally start around 7am, unless it is the weekend, then I sleep in until 10am. But it's not the weekend so I don't even want to think about it. I usually go through a few cups of coffee, cause I have a problem. A bad caffeine problem. I don't have to be at work until 8:30am, which gives me plenty of time to be somewhat alive and dressed for work. The dress code for my job is very relaxed, which really threw me off when I first arrive. I suggest inquiring about a dress code when you interview for schools. Had I known that the school was very relaxed about what you wear, I would not have bought extra dress clothes. I tend to dress up a few days a week but not every day. Today is just a sweater and jeans day. I don't like dressing up when I'm sick.
Anyways, when I get to my school at 8:30am, I don't actually teach until 9:40 but I have to greet students and make sure I am prepared for the day. Not having a voice really messed up my plan for the week. So I've been scrambling for extra activities that let me rest my voice but still help the students learn. Today, for example, I am with my younger kids right away in the morning. They are about 3-4 years old (internationally) but in Korea they are age 5. I have ten students in that class and without a voice, I'm kind of dreading having morning lessons with them. But I should have decent amount of a voice for them. In the morning, we have a snack at 10am and I have to pass out the food to the kids. I'm with these kiddos until 11am. I have a small ten minute break and switch classes with my co-teacher.
At 11:10am, I am with my older kids who are ages 5-6, or Korean age 7. I will be with these kids until the end of the day (2:10pm). There is a lunch period at noon, which I plate and serve the meal. They get to relax and just eat. But truly, no one ever really relaxes. They run around and scream at each other. Just usual kid things. Mondays and Tuesdays are a bit different than the rest of the week, I have gyms and Chinese with the students, so I get some small relaxing/prep times. It comes in handy when you're sick and have no voice. I try to be as active with the kids, but with the lack of a voice, it has proven to be a bit difficult.
I don't always start out with the younger kids, sometimes it is with the older kids. However, I do always end my day with the older kids, probably because they are my main class. I do more 'activities' with them such as doing a speech and more book work. I have about four or five books that I do with the older kids but only one or two with the younger kids. There is also the language barrier with the younger kids that can prove to be difficult at times, for the most part I have been able to communicate with them but sometimes when they have a very specific question, it gets difficult. But I try hard and thankfully the few years of Korean lessons have paid off and I can at least communicate at a basic level. I understand more of what they are saying but it is hard for me to respond back. I should have paid more attention to Eohjin's lessons.
After my normal 'morning' classes, I have a small break and then I have two afternoon classes that I teach. One is with older elementary students, and then one is with the 5/6 year olds. So technically I'm done teaching at 4pm, but I am not allowed to leave until the earliest of 6pm. It gives me about 2 hours for prepping at the end of the day. Normally I don't need that much time but it lets me get prepped for those inbetween lessons or extra activities to do if my kids are not catching on to a specific lesson or activity. I tend to create extra lessons for more of the language arts content that I teach.
So yeah, my day at work ends around 6-6:30pm and then I either go get groceries/do a bit of shopping and then head back to my apartment for the night. I don't get out much on weekdays, just because I've been sick lately, but also because I don't have the time when I work in the morning. But weekends are a whole different thing. In a few weekends, I'll be going back to Udo Island so I'll talk about some of the traveling I've done and try and post some pictures. South Korea is gorgeous and I can't wait to get more time to explore and experience it. Jeju Island has been quite the adventure so far!
Until another day!
Hopefully I will have a voice the next time I post!