This chapter of my life continues following my move from the Chungcheon-nam province in which I lived in a city called Asan. I had lived there for nine months of which three months I spent on vacation. I was an elementary school teacher for the Sun Moon University while enrolled in a Master’s of Education program via the Internet at American Intercontinental University during that time. I now work in Gyeongsan at the Yeungnam University. This is the end of my second full week of classes at the university.
Over the past week, Korean lessons began. Classes are offered at the university for the foreign language professors. I initially thought that I wouldn’t have enough time to partake in these classes, but I realized that my workload isn’t as demanding as I had orginally anticipated. A Korean woman teaches the classes. She also lives in our housing complex which is near the campus. Each morning at 8am, I and several other English teachers meet in a classroom to learn and practice speaking Korean.
My week went by smoothly. I found that I have lots of free time between classes. I don’t want to drive between the school and my apartment everyday during my breaks, so I need to find an activity that will keep my occupied during the breaks between classes. Several changes have been made to my schedule. As a result, I am not teaching as many hours as I originally thought. I do not want to create any extra work for myself and so I have resolved to not deviate from the lessons in the textbook. I foresee a problem already. That being that if I go the extra mile and teach one class more thoroughly that at test time, it will be my responsibility to recall everything I taught each of my classes and tailor their tests accordingly. That way, I would not test any class on material we did not cover in their class. Again, keeping the lessons simple, and uniform will benefit me over the course of this semester.
Bottom Line: I should be careful not to create more work for myself than need be.
It snowed heavily on Monday night. I awoke on Tuesday morning to find that the city was blanketed by several inches of snow. During that day, I walked around tha campus to take pictures. The day after the snow began to melt and I snapped more photos while walking around the campus. I have been intrigued by the statue on campus and so decided to snap a few shots of it. Tall, Blue-ish green, it reminds me of the character in Avatar.
After watching the Korean teacher in class, I gained an idea about how to present my lesson. She engaged us in conversation and taught us very little during the first class. It was an opportunity for her to introduce us and learn about us. In my class I did this as well during the first week. She’d prepared an assignment for us too. We had to conjugate verbs for homework. I didn’t have any homework for my students aside from the work in the workbook. I need to prepare homework assignments and be mindful of what I will test them on in the future. I should teach what will be on the test.
Finally, I walked around the campus to famililarize myself with my surroundings. I wanted to see the Tae Kwon Do class, but I learned that there isn’t one. Instead, as I walked around the campus I saw what looked like men wrestling with each other walked toward a building to see what they were doing. It was a Judo class in session. The instructors and students were surprised to see me enter their gymnasium. After all, I’m black, and a foreigner. They weren’t particularly happy to see me either. Even after I smiled and bowed to the officiating students, they still seemed perplexed and vexed by my presence. I clearly wasn’t being welcomed. I didn’t care however. It was not my intent to interrupt their class anymore than my presence had already done. I simply was curious about what they were doing.
A man who seemed to be the instructor wearing a clean white uniform and black belt which told me his rank walked over to me to inquire about my presence. I quickly put together a few sentences in Korean in order to tell him that I was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and that I was looking for the Tae Kwon Do club. I also informed him that I am an English teacher at the university. All of this seemed to put him at ease all the while impressing him. He offered me a seat fromwhich I was allowed to watch the class in session. After a few minutes of viewing the activity in the gym, I slipped my shoes on which I took off because it is customary to do so in Korea. The instructor watched me carefully as I tied my laces. There seemed to be tension in the room caused by my presence. The curiosity of the students must have also piqued when I entered. Again, as is customary in Korea, I bowed to the instructor and uttered: “sugo-ha-sum-ni-da” which means “work hard” or “carry-on.”
I left the gymnasium and walked around the campus. After that incident, I went to the coffee shop to have a cafe latte and wait and prepare for my next afternoon class.