Yecheon... the corner of where I wait for my Ko-Teacher to pick me up

My students’ favorite questions this week were… (BTW, if you’ve watched the Korean Drama BIG , then you may get the Ava Teacher reference my students are using). 

  • Ava teacher, where are you from?
  • Ava teacher, do you like KPop?  Who’s your favorite singer in Girl’s Generation?
  • Ava teacher, who’s your favorite actor?
  • Ava teacher, do you have a boyfriend?
  • Ava teacher, how did you learn to speak Korean?

and lastly…

  • Sing a song, Ava teacher!

View from my classroom window at Eunpung Elementary

So, my second and third days teaching were a bit more challenging.  I was prepared for it to be this way after going to school on the first day.  Since my Korean co-teacher is more of a support to me, rather than the reverse, I realized quickly I would need to figure out the text books, teaching materials, presentations, handouts, homework… all myself.  Try as she might, my Ko-teacher (pun on Co-teacher) had a lot of difficulty conveying information to me due to her own limitations in speaking English and mine speaking Korean.  I would say we are probably equal in our knowledge of each other’s language. 

MWF I teach at Yongmoon Elementary, Tuesday I teach at Sang-ri Elementary, and Thursday I teach at Eunpung Elementary.  I’ve yet to go to Sang-ri, however I did go to Eunpung.  My Ko-teacher and I are the same at both Yongmoon and Eunpung, however I have a different Ko-teacher at Sang-ri.  BTW.. Eunpung is an area known for their apples.  In Korean the word 사과 means apple AND apology, so if a person has difficulty expressing an apology, often they will give someone an apple… sort of a pun on words. 

Eunpung Classroom.. is also the Music room... filled with Gayageum
Seriously, I want to learn how to play one!

Eunpung was quite an experience.  Not in a bad way, but because I made it a point to challenge myself in a different way, which resulted in a tiny ego bruising experience LOL.  At Eunpung the students have not been assigned English names, rather they use their Korean names in class.  Because of this, I decided to try transcribing their names in Hangeul in an attempt to understand the relationship between pronunciation and writing.  Now I can readily admit my reading and writing skills are just OK.  I know the ‘alphabet’ and can read it, however I’m slow as molasses!!  This coupled with my poor hearing from years of using angle grinders and other eardrum torturing equipment AND the students’ shyness… well, it made for quite a spectacle to my students!!!  I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was embarrassing to say the least.  Regardless, my 5th period laughed so hard they made my ears hurt ;P. 

Besides that, I managed to eke my way through the lessons with my Ko-teacher’s assistance.  Eunpung only has 5th and 6th grade classes, however there are 3 classes for THE SAME 6th graders and 2 classes for THE SAME 5th graders.  Since I only come once each week, I guess they load the students up with as much info as they possibly can. 

The faculty at the school were very welcoming and gracious.  There wasn’t nearly the amount of pomp and circumstance I went through at Yongmoon and my introductions occurred gradually over the course of the day, rather than all at once in the morning.  Lunch was OMO 맛 있겠다 Yummy!!!!  It was BBQ pork with rice, kimchi, potato soup, bean paste, and steamed cabbage and pumpkin leaves to wrap it in.  Apparently I can expect this kind of lunch every time I go to Eunpung!!  How the hell do Koreans NOT get fat from eating like this every day?  Also, it’s preferred that you finish EVERYTHING on your plate… at least at the school cafeteria.  Kids and adults could learn something from the way they clean up after themselves, too… making the lunch ladies’ jobs that much easier.

After classes ended, my Ko-teacher and I stayed until it was time for us to go home (work week is 8:30 to 4:30, but for the two schools we travel to we can leave at 4:00).  Once again, I am captivated by the scenery, so I spend the majority of the car ride just observing the landscape and trying to take it all in. 

Many people grow their own veggies in their backyard. 
Not only is it more economical, but it makes the landscape more pleasing.