So we’ve officially been in our new city for three weeks! And during this time, I’ve done a terrible job keeping up a flow of updates. Sorry about that. It seems that, for the past couple of weeks, it has been success enough to continue adjusting to a foreign land. After work, we barely have enough energy to walk two blocks to our neighborhood market to pick up bread, let alone process into words every change our lives have undergone these last few weeks. But I think we can finally say we are adjusted to the reality that we aren’t going home next week after a lovely Asian vacation. We are here to stay. This is our new “home.” At least until the next grand adventure.
My primary middle school!
So, I’m a teacher. Two years ago, I would have never guessed that every week, I would be standing at the front of a classroom, teaching over 600 students who barely speak my language. Each day requires every ounce of my creativity, as I am continuously searching out successful methods to communicate to a bunch of angsty teens who’d rather be listening to E.X.O. or beating LoL than playing bingo with English vocabulary words.
And I absolutely love it.
Each week I teach at two middle schools in our little town. My primary school is the local public middle school. Here I teach 15 different classes of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. My classes emphasize the listening and speaking aspects of language. The students are a wide range of completely dedicated to completely uninterested, completely crazy ( I get an average of around twenty TEACHER WILL YOU MARRY ME’s a day), and completely adorable ( I had one sweet little boy bashfully admit to me he liked to sing, and then not-so-bashfully break into a ballad for the whole class to hear!).
My adorable seventh graders!
My secondary school is an all-boys Catholic school. A little bit of a shock here, as I wasn’t told it was all-boys, and discovered this forgotten detail the minute I walked into my first class. I quickly adjusted to the 40 pairs of little eyes staring at me, and pulled out my feeble knowledge of popular Kpop girl bands! Apink, you saved my skin, as my boys have officially given me the stamp of approval, after I let them each take turns saying which girl in the band they thought was prettiest.
The native teachers at each school have been so welcoming to me, and I am already making good friends with the sweet gray-haired history teacher who sits next to me in the teacher’s office. We enjoy using Google images to help communicate back and forth about various subjects (Last week, he pointed to the computer screen and proudly exclaimed: “Jimmy Carter! Handsome boy! Favorite president!”). Several times a week we will end the day with one of the teachers running out to get a big box of food from a neighboring street vendor. We’ll gather around the little table, break out the disposable chopsticks, and commune together over deep-fried squid, marinated rice cakes, and Sundae (rice noodles cooked in pork blood, stuffed into a pig intestine).
My co-workers are incredible! We may not speak the same language, but their kindness is evidenced every day by sweet little gifts and welcoming smiles.
Brady teaches at two elementary schools. His primary school is on the other side of the road from mine, allowing us to walk to and from school together every day. DREAM COME TRUE. I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to see my sweet husband’s silhouette coming up the sidewalk to pick me up after class, and walk side by side with him home, sharing the funny things our students did that day.
Brady has had an awesome experience so far. I always knew he would be the perfect elementary teacher! He is excited to start incorporating his passion for art into his classroom, encouraging the kids to make their English endeavors artistically creative. Being young and cute and innocent, Brady’s students love to sing every day in class, and are extremely affectionate and helpful (He told me today that he tried to make them play a competitive game in class, dividing the kids into teams. The students refused to let anyone lose, and every winner stopped to help the struggling students finish the task!).
Well, lesson planning is calling my name, so this teacher better hit the books before heading to bed.