Notes On A First Week of Teaching

Ok. Today technically marks my two full weeks “teaching” at Kumdan Middle School, but more importantly it’s my first full five-day teaching cycle. Which is to say, tomorrow I start a new lesson plan.

Teaching middle school kids is an interesting experience. I told people the reason why I chose middle school was because middle school kids are awkward, I was awkward in middle school and I’m still awkward. So it’s a perfect fit.

The way the system works is that I teach one hour of conversational English to every single “1st” and “3rd” grader at the school each week. (Note: In Korea, ordinal grades restart at each school). An hour may not be a l0t, so I keep it real simple.

The first time I go to a class, I ask the students, “What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of California or the United States?” Here are some answers in the order of their frequency:

  • Gen. MacArthur, pronounced “mac-art-er”
  • Sushi, meaning the California Roll.
  • Oranges
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Obama
  • USA
  • Good!
  • Dried grapes, aka raisins
  • Clinton!

How Do You Feel Lesson?

  • “I feel worried because I am hungry.”
  • “I feel angry because of boyfriend.”
  • “I feel excited for new teacher.”
  • “I feel bored because of new teacher.”
  • “I angry at sister because she hit me”

In What Countries Do People Speak English?

  • The Philippines – This is a puzzling, yet interesting answer to me. A lot of people do speak English, but not all
  • Russia
  • France
  • Mexico
  • Brazil

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