Saturday, March 12, 2011

First day of school

This is a view from my apartment window.

I woke up and met Heather in the lobby area of our building. We walked together to a convenience store across the street and got something to drink. She told me that we eat lunch with the kids and the portions aren’t that big so I might want to grab something else to eat just incase. I grabbed some ramen since I knew that was safe and easy. We then caught a cab to take to school since Heather said it was the easiest way to get to school and really cheap. The cab ride was about 2,500 Won (about $2.50 USD). When we got to the school we took our shoes off outside and she gave me some of the slippers that they have if you don’t have any. When I got inside we saw a girl who I later found out was in my class named Angelina. She was in the bathroom brushing her teeth and said hello and seemed to speak English very well. She seemed really excited to learn that I was the new English teacher. All the students at the school are between the ages of 5 and 7, but this is in Korean ages. In Korea, when you are born you are 1 years old. Then you turn 2 on the New Year and each New Year after that you are another year older. Therefore Koreans say they are 2 years older than people in America. So, really these kids are all between the ages of 3 and 5, according to our standards.

This is Shawn. Whenever it is clean up time he takes out the dust pan and starts sweeping. I love it! 
When I got into the classroom I met with Ellen, who is my co-teacher. She is Korean, but she is really good at English. The kids get to play from 9-9:50am and then they have to clean up. We play a clean up song every time they have to start picking up their things. At 10am they all sat down and we took attendance, discussed what day it was and checked the weather. Every classroom has a large flat screen TV that is hooked up to the computer in the classroom. So, pretty much all day we played various YouTube videos that were basic English songs. The kids know so many songs and love singing along to them. I have the Rainbow class, which are the 7 year olds (or 5 year olds if they came to the US). So, then they colored in a rainbow with their English names on them.

Some of the kids coloring. L-R: Richard, Kevin, Melisa and Angelina
I then took them to the bathroom to wash up for lunch while Ellen went to get the lunch from the cafeteria. When we got back to the classroom they all took out their lunchboxes, which are metal plates with different compartments, like what would be found at an Asian restaurant in the US. Ellen came back with the lunch which consisted of their staple, white rice, breaded chicken, kimchi, soup and a vegetable mix of tomatoes, apples and raisins in some weird sauce. It was actually really good except I haven’t liked any of the soups that I’ve had here so far. After lunch all the kids get their toothbrushes and brush their teeth. They are really good about it and get their toothbrush out of a UV sanitizer holder and bring us the toothpaste and ask for us to put it on their toothbrush. Then they get to play for about an hour or so. After they play they are supposed to have their Korean classes, but the Korean teacher was out so we just stayed with them and sang some more songs and did some flashcard work. They go home at 2pm and the after school classes haven’t started so I was told that I looked tired and jetlagged so they let me leave. I stayed a little while on the internet because I don’t have any at my apartment yet.
At about 3:30pm I took a taxi back to my apartment. For some reason no one knows the actual address of my apartment so I have to tell the taxi driver to go to the hotel which is right next door. I had some things I wanted to buy so I took a trip to the Daiso (which is like a dollar store). Of course I wanted to get everything, but mostly only got the necessities: cleaning supplies, some cups, metal chop sticks, and 2 trash cans. I also needed some pillows and I wanted to get a hair dryer so I had to continue onto the Home Plus. I was told this was like a Walmart in the US, but I think it’s bigger. It was like a department store, supermarket and Walmart all in one! Now, I already had a huge bag from the Daiso and of course I got way more than I could carry back. By the time I left I felt like a huge foreigner walking down the street. My arms were throbbing and I could barely hold everything. Luckily the pillows I got were in packaging with handles and so was the toilet paper and paper towels. Unfortunately, as I was crossing the street the handle on the paper towels broke and I dropped them in the middle of the street. Some nice woman helped me pick it up though.
When I got back to my apartment I finally cleaned and unpacked all my things. There is a lot of storage room in my apartment which is really nice. I have a whole upstairs loft area that I’m just using to store my suitcases. Plus the ceiling is about 4 feet high up there so I really have no use for it. It’s too bad though because there is a great dresser and a big shelving area. I’ll make a video tour of the apartment when I can.
Another view from my apartment window.

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