We are now in the final days of the semester. Kind of. Final exams are two weeks away, which means that the rest of the month will be spent scrambling around trying to finish oral testing, get the last of our speech grades recorded, write the super-duper-top-secret-DON’T-EVEN-MENTION-TO STUDENTS-THAT-YOU-ARE-THINKING-ABOUT-THEM exam questions, and review. Throw in a couple of surprise “demo classes” and June is kind of a crap month. All of this lead-up kind of lets you down in July though, since after exams we still have two weeks of classes in which students and teachers are completely checked out, because this school system is all about teaching to the test. (That’s not so rare, really…higher test scores equals better reputation equals more prestige, more funding, blah blah blah and you can’t really get away from it anywhere you go.) I have a few tried and true fun lessons that I will be pulling out for those classes, and maybe even a video. I’m not proud, and I’m also not crazy enough to try to teach a real lesson when these little monsters can smell freedom.
The last day of school before vacation is July 16th, and then the fun really starts. We have three days of English Camp, which means that the students whose parents make them sign up will come to school for games such as “Word Fishing,” “Scavenger Hunt,” and “Blindfolded Body Clock” (my favorite - just go ahead and try to imagine how to play it). Thankfully (unlike our winter English Camp), the Korean teachers are mostly in charge. They’re even going so show up! We’ll just do what they tell us, and since Mike and I really pushed to limit the numbers this semester, it probably won’t be too painful. Of course, anything’s possible.
The last week of July will be spent on “teacher camp,” which means that my two highest-level co-teachers, Daisy and Grace, will meet me for a kind of book club. We’ll read some short novel (any recommendations are appreciated!!!) and discuss social implications, idioms, all that good stuff. These two teachers are also in my poetry class, which is a bright spot in a lot of really lackluster teacher classes. Discussing lesson plans with them drives me batty, but they are fascinated by Maya Angelou and Walt Whitman.
The first two weeks of August are our contractual vacation time. We’re giving up the first week for the teacher certification seminar. We still don’t have much information about that, but at least we know our schedule and what we’re getting paid. It will almost completely pay for our trip to Bangladesh, which is lucky. We haven’t bought tickets yet, but we got the trip appoved with school.
I am getting so, so excited for this vacation! We have to go to the embassy in Seoul to get our visas and maybe there are shots involved? I’m not sure. Josh’s fiance is having some clothes made for me, which I am to wear AT ALL TIMES. Apparently, ladies in Western clothes are a bit too exciting for the gentlemen in the little town where we’ll be spending most of our time. I guess that just means I’ll get to pack light. Beyond that, I’m not really sure what we’ll be getting into. I’ll let you know as soon as I do!
The last two weeks of August will be spent back at school. I didn’t know that we would be teaching right up to the end of our contract, but apparently Korean schools have at least a week in August that is still considered part of the first semester (even though it’s after a month of vacation). We’ll have the same schedule that we’ve had all semester, but I think it’s just sort of babysitting until the second semester officially starts on September first. Weird, right? Mostly, I’ll be glad to get to spend time with my students before I leave for good. Especially the first graders. Now that the semester is winding down, and we’re doing more housekeeping than content in class, I’m really getting a kick out of them.
So that’s kind of an overview of what I can expect for the next little while. I’m sure something will happen to surprise me. As for today, my teaching schedule is light, the weather is gorgeous, I’m trying a new yoga class tonight, and then a coffee date and maybe a beer afterward. Can’t complain too hard.
What’s new with you?