This morning was interesting. In many ways it was the first day of school. I spent more time than usual dressing for work. It seemed as if somehow though I had been teaching some classes last week, today was more important, today I had to look like a teacher—no, I had to look like THE teacher. I woke up around six thirty and had a Skype date with a friend for a little pep talk. My predecessor triple checked her backs then went for a hike/run; she was leaving around three o'clock this afternoon and had to go straight from school to the airport only stopping to get her bags from the apartment. We got to school somewhere between nine thirty and ten; though my first class isn't until eleven-thirty, I like to get there a couple hours early to get the lessons in order, especially since most of my classes are back to back. Plus, I needed to stop and get a coffee at Double Bean before I could face the children with all their energy.
My Kindergarten class went fairly well, though of course with such a large class (though very few teachers would consider twelve students a large class; I don't see how public school teachers do it!) you have to make sure to get to all of the students and make sure they all understand without boring the rest and giving themselves the chance to act out. Today was their art class in which I had them draw either a police officer or a firefighter, as those were two people whom they had learned about in class. As with everything else, some finished before others and "Teacher, done!" rang out while others were still meticulously painting. I was thankful for my predecessor's help checking papers; if she wasn't there, it was likely I wouldn't have finished in time.
My older students were easier. Almost all of them have two warm-up exercises (one speaking memorization exercise and one grammar correction exercise) as soon as class begins. I could feel them weighing me with their eyes. They were testing me with their questions and once the teacher before me left, they wanted to see how much they could get away with. I wasn't budging, and though I'm sure they aren't finished with me, I do think that I earned a little bit of respect.
The hardest class was my class of five year olds who were just starting to speak English. They are energetic and inattentive as children that age are. The hardest part was getting them to stop speaking Korean in the classroom. As long as they feel free to do that they will never focus on English and will stay behind those their own age until they speak only English in school. It's a matter of switching the brain from one language to the other.
I had a break from six to six forty and made sure I grabbed a coffee during then. My last class was three high school girls, so I was relieved of the extra duty of keeping students in line. I swiped my card at seven-thirty and made my way home to my blessedly empty apartment. I finished unpacking and arranging then fixed left-over Chinese put in my fridge by a fellow teacher next door who had no more room in her own fridge. I lounged with my dinner and tried to decipher a Korean movie. I didn't understand what they were saying but it looked interesting nonetheless. It was only just past nine-thirty and I was exhausted.