Don’t Call Me Jennifer Professor

One reason I’ve gotten so far behind with my posts is that I’ve changed jobs. Toward the end of last year, we started having weekly meetings at school, and at each one, we would be given a new responsibility, notice of a new weekly meeting, or some other not-great news, like the school year being lengthened because of the Korean curriculum. While this was going on, Stafford, aka The Chosun Bimbo, was trying to convince me to make the move from classroom teacher to teacher trainer.

I was quite happy to stay at my previous school, though, because even with the reduced perks, it was still better than most schools in Korea and I actually like teaching children. The final straw, however, was being given a roster of “volunteer” hours at the CEOs charitable foundation. All of the teachers had already been scheduled. To volunteer. In and of itself, it was nothing. In fact, if they had come to us and said, “Who wants to teach orphans during school hours?” we would have been fighting each other for the time slots. It was the way we were told we would be “volunteering” and when we would be doing it.

So, I gave my notice. My director was very kind and understanding about it. I think he was hearing similar feelings from other teachers who didn’t have other offers on the table. I got my letter of release so I wouldn’t have to go to Japan and that was that.

So, here I am, teaching two TESOL certification courses: general and young learners. I was pretty excited to only have 15 teaching hours. Little did I realize, I would need about two hours a day to walk myself through the lesson plans and plot out each moment as it would actually happen. That leaves me with some time to make photocopies of handouts and look through my various resources to be  prepared for student questions. Did I mention there are also online discussion groups and quizzes and reports which I need to mark? And lesson plans to write (though not that many, thankfully). And from the end of this week, there will also be practica feedback to write. Eek. Stafford assures me it will get better, but I think it will probably be at least one semester before I feel like it’s slowing down to a regular pace.

On the upside, I teach the morning and evening classes on alternating weeks, so one week I finish early and the next I get to sleep in. The commute to Incheon isn’t as bad as I had expected, because I’m generally travelling in the opposite direction of the traffic. I do live in fear of a bus strike or summer flood, though. The bus ride is about 45 minutes and the bus takes me from Gangnam Station straight to my university. Now that the weather is getting nice, I can walk to/ from the bus and get a little exercise, too.

The classes themselves are pretty interesting. I’m learning/ remembering a lot that I hadn’t used since I finished my MEd. a few years ago. I should probably be spending more time reading my reference books, because I’m pretty sure the students are getting a much more in-depth lesson from Stafford, but I’ll get there. Right now, I’m just trying to finish the lessons in 3 hours. Once I can do that, then I’ll worry about supplementing the lesson plans with additional info…

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