End of the first week. My sixth grade coteacher was out to attend her husband’s military promotion so I taught with a man who will also be subbing for my other co-teacher when she goes on maternity leave.
I have… Some concerns.
He’s a retired teacher but not an English teacher so our conversations today were incredibly… short. I’m honestly not sure that he speaks any English but he can read. Luckily my pregnant coworker said she’ll make a schedule for us so we can divide and conquer when she leaves. She felt a bit worried for the future and I told her that I was also little bit worried since he seems pretty uncomfortable with English and we have to teach together.
But after talking to some other foreign teachers today I realized I’m in a really good situation. Some teachers don’t even have a co-teacher at all and are making their own curriculum from scratch. Other teachers had to work alone in the classroom when their co-teachers went on maternity leave. So I’m very grateful for the care of my coteachers.
But enough of the housekeeping! Today the sub lead the sixth grade classes while I did introductions, monitored the room, and made all the students practice conversation with me. The sixth graders are much more self disciplined than the fourth graders for which I’m thankful. But the sixth graders are also very open with their reactions. Every time a group of girls came into the classroom they gasped and giggled when they saw me. A lot of the boys chose to play wrestle in front of me. One extremely tall supposedly 12-year-old boy spent class trying to convince me that he was over 6 feet but also couldn’t make eye contact for the first thirty minutes. Another boy who has surprisingly good English told me “teacher you look like model!” A fair amount of the girls giggled any time I made eye contact and after class told me that I was pretty.
I basically have a sixth grade fan club so be jealous.
Whenever I feel lonely during planning hours I just go into the hallway and talk to whichever students are passing by. Sometimes students wave at me through the window or open the door to say hi. There are two students in particular that I constantly see play fighting in the hallway.
Today from afar the boy shouted to me about his partner in crime who had just thrown him to the floor “she is strong girl!”. They came up to me to argue who was strong so I taught them how to say “weak”. Later in the afternoon I saw the same girl and boy and I asked them what word I taught them this morning. The boy happily shouted “I am weak!”
In the afternoon I was invited to teatime with some other teachers in the music classroom. There was legitimately a tablecloth and silverware. A la “The Finer Things” club. As per usual the conversation was mostly Korean but I’m learning a lot of new colloquialisms every day which is really helpful. #makinganeffort
The school day ended with me happily vacuuming the classroom; nothing feels quite so satisfying as a freshly cleaned room. And in the evening I got to eat American food in a trendy shipping container market.
I kind of miss the kids already, they are free entertainment, but luckily I have plans this weekend that just might include my Guri fruit men.
Have a great weekend, everybody~
Note from the future: Here we meet two important characters, Strong Girl and Weak Boy. They will feature heavily as months go by.