Most of January was 3 weeks of teaching an intensive program at the school called the “ESL Program”. I was in charge of the cooking program for the pre-basic and basic students, i.e. those who could barely string a sentence together.
But, you don’t need too much English in the kitchen, as show works better than tell. We made quiche, bento, cupcakes, brownies and pizza. They were 3 of the most stressful weeks of my life, but worth it. It’s always good to go through those experiences, just to prove to yourself that you’ll come out the other side just fine. It’s definitely made me appreciate teaching smaller classes!
I taught 2 classes at once (because they had seriously over-booked us), but they usually had the village guides (Korean university students working at the English Village) assist me. Things really went crazy for me when the sink broke!
Other than that it was a pretty fun program, and it meant that we got to work closely with other teachers. There were also weekend activities (overtime) and that meant a lot of arts and crafts. Usually we had the students do all the actual drawing and cutting, but sometimes we had to pitch in to help everything get done.
I was also responsible for the skipping competition (jump rope for North Americans) and the Hula Hoop competitions. I’m not very good at either things, but the students had a lot of fun.
There was also games that all the students played together, like a quiz that one of the teachers had created. There was a lot of moving around. It’s a very different dynamic when you have over 200 students to entertain and keep under control.
But, January was also a time for hanging out with friends. We spent a lot of time indoors because it was so cold. This provided the perfect situation to get together and watch a bunch of movies we hadn’t seen in a while.
But we also got out and about when we could. Downtown Daegu is beautiful during the festive season. They have tons of light displays and everything looks very pretty.
I also got to make a trip to Seoul with Jen, which was a lot of fun. Meeting Jen has probably been the best thing about working at this job, and while we aren’t super close, I know I’ve definitely made a life-long friend. Seoul was a lot of fun, even though we went during a public holiday (Seollal/Lunar New Year) and a lot of stuff was closed.
All in all, January was exhausting, but I came to Korea for new experiences, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet!