Thoughts From EPIK Orientation

First view of my new city ^^

 

Well, we are about a week into orientation and about a week away from my first day of teaching.

Which is both terrifying and exciting all at the same time.

The biggest news I have is that I found out I will be teaching middle school! This is, in the same way, both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying because middle schoolers are middle schoolers. And exciting because connecting with people who don’t natively speak English is what I am good at, and what I love about teaching. And I think that I will be able to connect with middle school aged students much more effectively than elementary aged ones.

Other than that things have been pretty much what I expected. I’m exhausted everyday from meeting so many new people and being in class from basically 8am-8pm. But I am also equally as inspired and motivated to work incredibly hard to be a good teacher for my students over the next year.

I was talking to one of my new friends while walking back from dinner tonight and we were both saying how as the first day of teaching rapidly approaches we are constantly fluctuating between feeling like we are going to absolutely drown in our new schools, and feeling like we’re going to be the hardest working GET (guest english teachers) that Korea has ever seen.

It changes moment by moment.

I’m hoping that when it’s all said and done I will be somewhere in the middle.

 

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Orientation itself has been really informative so far. I was a little skeptical of how much they could actually teach us about teaching (an oxymoron if there ever was one) in one week but I stand corrected. The lectures have all been really helpful and informative and made me consider a lot of things that I hadn’t thought of previously.

Guest English Teachers are in a very weird position as far as their relationship with the school, the students, and Korean culture in general. We are teachers, who are generally very highly respected, but we are foreign and therefore aren’t necessarily afforded that respect unless we deserve it. We are the most knowledgeable person in the room when it comes to the English language, and yet we are least knowledgeable when it comes to the language that every single other person in the school is speaking at all times.

I have gotten a lot of really good ideas from the lectures about how to circumvent these things if possible. And if I’ve learned anything it seems to be that there will soon be a very clear delineation between those of us who are here to take teaching seriously and those of us who are going to just get by at work and have fun for a while.

I am going to do everything within my power to be a part of that first group. The pressure is on for the first day of class to make the right impression not only to my students, but also to my co-teacher, and future co-workers. I hope I can be strict enough in the beginning that my students will see me as an actual teacher who deserves their attention and respect, and not just the fun foreign person who plays silly games with them once a week.

So yea, terrified and excited about sums it up.

Thanks for reading 🙂


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