Monday morning finally came around. Dean and I were pretty nervous because we didn’t really know what to expect. Seeming though we actually took this job on a whim without having received a signed contract from the director and not fully knowing what our responsibilities would be, we had our fingers crossed. Our director Joanna fetched us on Monday afternoon and took us to our schools. Dean’s school is about a 10 minute walk from our apartment and mine is just past his, about a 15 minute walk.
Dean's school. You can see the EBY Talking Club sign.
Walk to school, up the hill.
My school, you can see the EBY Talking Club sign on the side.
Walk to my school. Luckily some shade!!
Both schools are the same Talking Club franchise, have the same director and run with the same system. Joanna showed us around the schools and explained briefly how the system works. We rotate around the 4 classrooms everyday so each day we teach a new group of students. It is quite refreshing to see different students everyday. It’s also good for the students because they all need as much exposure to speaking English as possible. The Talking Club ‘system’ was a bit complicated to get our heads around but we seem to have worked it out now. Our first week has been great. For me it mainly involved doing introductions and showing the kids a slide show about Cape Town, my home and my family. Most children have never heard of South Africa and they were in awe by all the pictures. After showing them pictures of my house and garden I was met by many gasps and “teacha, are you rich?” questions. Everyone here lives in taaaall apartments and apparently only like the CEOs of Samsung and Hyundai have swimming pools at their houses. Needless to say, all the kids want to come to South Africa!
The entrance to my school. Dean's looks the same.
Inside the school. It is quite small with only 4 small classrooms and a teachers office.
I get to wear these cool slippers when I get to work. Dean got started on teaching on day 2. His teachers are very keen and explained the whole system to him. Lucky for me because then he could tell me all about it. There are 3 Korean teachers at each school. Their English is ok and sometimes it can be difficult to get across what you are trying to say. It seems crazy because they are English teachers but they all seem to be able to teach grammar just fine.
Our hours are pretty great. We have to be at school at 1:20pm to start teaching at 2pm and we finish at 8pm. This is much less hours than typical hagwon (Korean ‘after school’ program) jobs which generally finish at 10pm and we still get paid the average salary. We also do minimal lesson planning and arriving at school at 1:20pm gives us plenty of time to prepare for the day. I've heard new teachers can spend up to 6hour preparing for each day so I’m pleased about this.
Another thing we did in our first week was visit the hospital for our health check. You need to have a health check within 30days of entering the country so that you can apply for your Alien Registration Card (which allows you to stay in the country). Joanna took us to one of the main hospitals in Jeonju one morning, Jesus Hospital. I was the BUSIEST hospital I have ever seen, people everywhere walking around in gowns. No wonder people in Korea live so long if they are always at the hospital getting checks. We had the most rigorous health check either one of us had ever had. And it was so efficient, all taking about an hour. The check involved: chest scan, blood test, ear test, eye test, urine test, blood pressure, height, weight etc, mouth examination. Joanna paid for both our tests, 100 000 Won (R1000), which was very kind of her. Directors do not normally pay for it. She is such a kind lady and has so far given us so many gifts and treats. We are so lucky to have such a great director.
With Joanna at Dunkin Donuts after the hospital :) All in all, the first week was enjoyable and we feel very lucky to have an awesome director and nice schools. I am looking forward to next week to start some proper teaching and get into a routine.