Week 1, *First Day*

My goodness, what a day! Firstly let’s note that anyone who says it’s faster to travel by subway means only the subway and not the five escalators and elevators and staircases that require getting in and out of the station.

And another fun fact I learned today is that the previous teacher was also from the same US city. Small world!

The most surprising part of my school is that during training they told us to never use Korean in class. However in my school, English classes are conducted mostly in Korean since the kids are too novice to understand English directions. In fact, third grade is the first time they start to learn English. So it only makes sense that a fair amount of the class would be conducted in Korean.

Today I met my new third and fourth grade students. I’ll be teaching third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. I’ve been warned about the fifth graders as they are notoriously…. energetic.

One of the teachers asked if I was nervous but I told her not at all. I love that with kids you have immediate feedback and open honesty which is a 180 from working in corporate.

With the third graders I got to take role with their Korean names which they thought was the absolute best. The fourth graders were somehow 10 times louder and 10 times more curious.

I got a lot of interesting questions today such as: do you have a boyfriend? Do you have a baby? How old are you? How tall are you? Do you like Korean food? Do you like kimchi? Do you like BTS? Do you like Japan? Are you Russian?

The older and braver kids in school that I haven’t met yet have said hello and asked me where I’m from. One student told me “I am Korean” and I told him in Korean ”oh really? you’re not a Thai person?” His friends cracked up at that.

All the kids and teachers know I speak(some) Korean and honestly I’m not sure how anyone can do this job without basic Korean knowledge. I think it’ll really help my relationship with my coworkers and also it helps to listen in on the kids when they’re asking each other questions or need a hint or are trying to talk smack about me. And I think surprisingly my Korean will also improve since I’m learning elementary Korean as they learn elementary English.

Even though I was bone tired after work, I didn’t want to go straight home so I wandered around my neighborhood again. It gets a little less daunting every time.

If I want to feel more real I just wander one block back and it’s a mini Chinatown with people making dumplings in the street and motorcycle men honking at everybody. Tonight I ended up with takeout dumplings and donut bread and of course an iced coffee for the road. I got slightly lost and I discovered a small neighborhood pub which I’ve noted for the future for any particularly difficult workdays.

Looking forward to meeting more of my kiddos tomorrow.

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