Life in Korea 한국 Teaching in Korea

Learning to be a Teacher

Teaching is a job that has moments of joy and fury. The moments of joy far out weigh the moments of fury. 
This is my first year as a teacher and guess what? I’m not perfect. I’m probably not even a great teacher yet, however that is not the point. The point of being a teacher is that you are meant to grow.
What have I learned in the last four months of teaching?

I still am the most creative under the pressure of time. I have planned a lesson for my teacher’s class two periods before it was due and it turned out great. My co-teacher told me it was great and really interesting.
My discipline style is not set. I have varying tactics, I stay quiet, I stand in silence, I yell if I need to. I also know how to project my voice to the back wall with a quick, but loud and powerful, “Quiet!” Some of my students get blank stares and some say you scared me in Korean. Why yes darling students that is the point.  As you see, you were talking so loudly and not listening it seemed to be the most befitting remedy for you.

I am the food teacher. Come to my main school and all  hear my third grade middle school boys say is, “Teacher, food.” I’m knowm to bake and bring in treats to my after school class. I also reward the winning teams of spelling bees with ice cream. Those who have gone above and beyond to listen to me when the rest of the class ignored me and didnt help clean the classroom, they get a treat too. I have spent my own money to teach two classes how to bake cookies and another how to make ice pops. And the other two I haven’t cooked with yet will also grt one all expenses provided cooking class from me. A promise is a promise and playing fair is important. I have bought ice cream and choco pies for my third graders because they have been studying until 7pm for the last three weeks at school.

Why pay out of pocket? Why use food?
I have the luxury of being at a small school at the moment and the knowledge that kids in Korea have never really baked before. When you bring in food that is different and homemade, you are teaching culture. And you bring out the kids curiosity. I have requests of coming to my house to cook later this summer. My kid are more than welcome.
I might lack the skills to make mind blowing powerpoints and games. I don’t want to be known as the joker who always plays games either. I want my kids to learn something from me more valuable than wasting time on games. I might follow the book for now until I get better at diverging on my own and coming up with a great lesson.  But I will get better.

My principal often tells me in Korean that I am kind, that I have a good heart and that I am good for the kids.
My fellow teachers praise me that I am not like the other foreign teachers they have met over the years. I am open, friendly, and participate with others. Even though I still don’t know a lot of Korean all of the teachers at my three schools, say they are so thankful they can communicate with me.
So I know that the more I teach, the better I will become. I look forward to that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.