First week of school (aka "hak-yo)

FINALLY…as a follow up to My First Day of School post, I now have a little time to update you on how the rest of my week went at my hakyo (school in Korean).

Since I didn’t teach anything on Monday, that left me with only 14 classes the rest of the week.  That might not seem like much, but that’s 14 of the very same “Introduction to Lisa” lesson.  Seriously, it was a little painful. 

But the kids seemed to really be excited, fascinated, and a little disgruntled with me.  Excited because there was someone new at the school.  Fascinated because this new person was from America (Ah-mare-eee-ka).  But disgruntled because I was the new English teacher.  The majority of Korean students at my school (and every school in Korea) don’t like learning English.  There’s only a small minority of Koreans in general who like English and want to learn it.  English in Korean public schools is mandatory, starting in elementary.  Think about how hard that would be for Americans.  We were still learning to read and spell in the 2nd and 3rd grade.

I had each of my classes make name tags.  One side was their name in Korean, and the other side was their Korean name…in English.  Of course, not everything translates perfectly.  And many students don’t know how to write their Korean name in English.  Ah…this really tested my Korean language skills.  I helped as best I could.  Here are a few of the nametags.

nametags

 

A few stats for you:

-18 classes a week (3rd-6th grade)

-552 students

~About 120 students have the last name “Kim,” ~120 students have the last name “Lee,” and 50 students with the last name “Park.” 

Interestingly, “Lee” is really “Eee” in Korea.  They add the “L” to help English people say the name easier.  And “Park” is really “Pak” – again, they add an “R” to make it easier to say.

Overall, the week was fun, but very exhausting.  I’m learning, that elementary students in Korea are not that different from elementary students anywhere else.  They are loud, have lots of energy, are creative, love playing games and singing songs, and  they lose focus easily.  Also, each class has the range of abilities – some speak absolutely no English at all…while others are quite good.

*Every other week, I am in charge of English Club.  An hour long “club” where students who want to, can improve their English.

*Every week (starting next week), I will have an hour long “Teacher Training.”  Again, voluntary – but for teachers who want to improve their English.  Most teachers speak very little English…or are too afraid to try.  But apparently there’s alot of interest in these weekly sessions.

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