Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Goodbyes Part 4: Thursday


I wasn’t able to write this yesterday because it was a busy day at school. First, second, and fourth period I had class, during third period I observed an open class, during fifth period I helped a student with his American student visa interview, and then during sixth period I cleaned my desk. Then I got home, and my keyboard is currently messed up, and I can’t type the letters “g” or “h,” I can’t type apostrophes, and I can’t use the backspace. At first I didn’t think this would be a problem, because how common are “g” and “h” really? However, if you look at my blog’s subject matter, which is teaching English at Sapgyo High school you realize it gets really annoying really quickly.

Thursdays are always my difficult days. I teach 1.6 (1st grade, very low level – computer track class, co-ed, approximately 25 students) 1st period, and they’re absolutely impossible to deal with. They are single handedly my worst class, and the only class I absolutely dread. However you’d be amazed at what “this is Emily’s last class” will do, and I received a nice surprise when I walked into class and they had written “Emily say goodbye?” on the board and attempted to be somewhat well-behaved.

Class 1.1 (1st grade, very low level, all boys, approximately 30 students) disappointed me. They are normally difficult to deal with as well, but for the most part their hearts are in the right places. Out of all of my classes they probably have the lowest level English, and they’re also incredibly hyper, which is a horrible combination. On Thursday they were very sleepy and tired and not engaged, so I had my co-teacher help me tell them that I know firsthand that it’s difficult studying a foreign language, but they’ll never improve if they sleep, or talk. They need to listen and participate.

I then taught class 1.5 (1st grade, advanced, co-ed, approximately 30 students), which ended up being a pretty normal class. They are a bunch of very bright, good at English first-graders, but I feel that I didn’t have enough time to get to know them.

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.