Heur had me meet him in front of the Tae Kwon Do school in the morning.  From there we headed to Yongmoon Elementary via a beautiful, long and winding road through the Yecheon countryside.  There were farms with fruit and rice to one side and the other traced the outskirts of the Nakdonggang River.  The road meanders gracefully through the small towns and as we passed the sloping foothills of the mountains I could see ancient pagodas, Buddah, and historic markers peaking out among the foliage in well maintained little plots of land.  The roads in Yecheon are cheerfully lined with flowers such as chrysanthemum, which is actually celebrated with its own festival.  Yongmoon Elementary is situated roughly 15 minutes from my apartment. 


Once I arrived I was greeted by my fellow teachers, all of whom I greet as (name) seonsaegnim (teacher).  They all came in at various times to say hello, introduce themselves to me, and welcome me to Korea.  Most could not believe that I had never been to Korea, as my speaking skills are apparently impressive.  Although, to me I only wish I knew more before coming!  After having coffee I was introduced to the principal.  I was told he is quite strict, however I felt he was nice.  He spoke no English, but welcomed me and asked me to please take good care of the students.  In Korea it is common for newcomers to introduce themselves and ask that everyone take good care of them.  The same goes for someone that is responsible for the well-being of others, such as a teacher. 

 

Once my introductions were over, Jennifer Seonsaegnim gave me a tour around the school.  The school is quite nice and modern!  There’s even a small display of artifacts from the Choseon era right next to the English Classroom.  I have my own desk with computer and TONS of teaching materials.  I had thought that my position would be more supportive, however it turns out that Jennifer Seonsaegnim is supporting me.  This is not a problem, however… and I look forward to the challenge of developing my own curriculum and working with my students. 


Since today is Wednesday, I have three classes. The first is 6th grade, which starts at 10:40 am (or 9:40 pm Florida time).  This class has 12 students, two of which are special education students… all of which are ADORABLE!!!  Truly, these children are a delight!  They were excited to meet me and asked lots of questions.  I introduced myself as Ava 에바… and gave them a list of things I enjoy doing, such as singing, drawing, painting, riding my motorcycle, etc.  They asked me to sing and so I did.  I then went through the class asking everyone to say their name, what they liked, and to tell me about their family.  It was fun to hear their responses.  Most of the students live with their grandmother, as well as their mother, father, and siblings.  5th grade period followed 6th and the class went about the same.  The students were attentive, excited, and inquisitive.  All wanted to know if I had a boyfriend, why I came to Korea, how I learned Korean, if I liked any KPop music or actors. 

 

After 5th period was lunch.  The cafeteria is located on the other side of the pine forest, which is a national treasure!  It’s so awesome to have a national treasure literally running through the school grounds.  The pine forest is comprised of beautiful knotty pine trees, which resemble large Bonsai.  For lunch I ate fried rice with an egg and gravy on top.  The soup was a fish cake soup with sliced potatoes and the sides were Kimchi and a very tasty mashed yam.  Along with lunch they give you a yoghurt drink that has vitamins and nutrients.  It’s super sweet (like, REALLY swee!)!  Of course, lunch was served with stainless steel chopsticks and a spoon.  I was praised for my chopstick dexterity :D.  After lunch the Head Nutritionist (chef) invited us to her office and made coffee for me, Jennifer, and another teacher.  There we sat and talked (in Korea) and they gossiped about various things (such as their superiors being too strict and being married v single).  After lunch I have time for planning. 

 

Most of my classes after lunch are not tested, but serve to help introduce and facilitate English learning to new learners.  So, on Wednesdays my afternoon class is with 3rd graders at 1:50 and runs until 2:25ish.  These students are much more exuberant and hard to settle down.  They have a ton of energy, and yet since the class meets after lunch they’re a lot like your typical student and get tired and lose focus easily.  Still, I ran through my introductions and questions and then had them introduce themselves and tell me a little about what they like to do and their family.  Afterwards I had already prepared a small worksheet for them to fill out in class, which we did together.  It was more of a recap of things they had done previously, but was a nice little warm-up exercise for them. 

 

A few minutes ago Jennifer Seonsaegnim let me know that my luggage arrived, so I’m pretty happy about this!  Now the English classroom is being used by the school music teacher, who is Jennifer’s husband.  He teaches Saxophone and I’m being serenaded by a chorus of 5th and 6th graders practicing their music.  It’s wanja daebak!  LOL…  After the class is over Heur and Jennifer will drive me back to my apartment in Yecheon to help deliver my luggage.  Apparently my three bags are too much for one car hahaha..  In addition, I have a huge box full of teaching aids and books I need to go through to start preparing for my students’ lessons.   

 
Swimming across pedestrian bridges in Seoul...


They all look the same!?!?


Olympics Sculpture Bridges


Seoul near the bus station

http://koreandreamer.blogspot.kr/2009/10/discovering-gyeongsangbuk-do-yecheon.html