This has apparently worked out to her favor as she tends to enjoy her working days more often than not. However, it has occurred to us at The Harrington Times that our readers just might be curious as to what it looks like to teach English in South Korea. It has also occurred to us that many readers may be thinking the Harrington's never actually work and only travel the world and do things such as go to festivals. Let us reassure you, the Harrington's do work and to help you better understand what that means we have an account of a typical teaching week in the life of Melissa Harrington; a.k.a Melissa-Teacher.
In an email home to her previous co-workers, Melissa explains:
All classes are 40 minutes long. I see most students 1X per week - meaning if there is a naughty student, I only work with them 40 minutes every week and mostly - they are the Korean Teacher's responsiblity -- which is ok by me! Classes start around 9:00 and go until 12:10 sometimes there is a class after lunch but most of what happens after lunch are called "After School Programs" -- however, I'm not sure students have a choice whether or not to go - I think it's more like electives. Anyway - Most days I'm done teaching curriculum by lunch. My afternoon - all 4 hours off it, are spent lesson planning...or looking busy. It may seem the students get off pretty easy here - however that is FAR from the truth. A typical Korean student goes to school from 8 am until 11 pm. There is SOO much pressure on these kids to be smart and learn lots. So, after the Public Schools or morning classes and afternoon programs many students go to hag-wan or Private schools where their parents pay for them to learn even more! Needless to say - some kids sleep during English class or other classes because it's not an area of study they are focused on.
Monday and Tuesday I work at Seongchon with the same Korean Co-Teacher. She is about my age, very sweet and a much better teacher and English Speaker than she gives herself credit for. On Monday's we teach 3 different 5th Grade classes. On Tuesday we have three 4th grades classes and two 3rd grade classes. There is a not-to-impressive curriculum which we kind of follow and I'm in charge of teaching pronunciation, phonics and leading a game or two - not too shabby.
Wednesday and Friday I work at a smaller school. Wednesday I teach one each of grades 3-6. I would have only one Co-Teacher here but she is doing a special English learning program so I get to work with each grades homeroom teacher - I was a little nervous, but now that the first day has come and passed - I feel okay - the teachers a super sweet and I realy feel at home here. Minus the language barrier and the Korean Food I would think I was back at Linford ;)
Thursday - I work at Seongchon with a different teacher teaching four 6th grade classes. I've only taught their twice and am a little less sure about what this co-teacher expects of me and the way that she likes to run her class. I get along well with her though and she's eager to help me learn Korean, so that's looking good.
The days here are almost always fun. The students are well-behaved and super sweet. They are eager to say hello and occassionally you'll get one or two willing to have a more 'advanced' conversation - whether they sing you the ABC's, tell you every word they know (blue, green, head, etc.) or have a conversation about where they are going on the class trip with the help of their cell phone dictionary; the English teacher is sure to always feel well loved in Korea.