First Day as a Shadow

Today was my first day on the job, serving as a shadow for Sarah. I got to meet my students, several of which were really excited (I’m the only male member of the faculty) and several more quite sad to lose their familiar teacher. Shadowing was a tad boring, but necessary. I’ve definitely got serious information overload from everything I’ve been taking in. Shortly before classes I got my photo taken for my alien registration card, which was somewhat surprising to me given how many pictures I’ve had to give to the Korean government thus far. The place I went for the photo was strange. It was dark and looked like a man’s living room. He pulled the shades up and took my picture almost completely in the dark. He then adjusted the photo’s contrast and stuff in photoshop. Curiously, he edited out a birthmark I have on my collar bone, which was a bit strange to me. The final result looked fantastic, and I got 10 copies for 10,000W, which was a great deal.

Outside the school after my day was over

One thing immediately striking is that the job isn’t exactly what I thought. There is no co-teacher in my class, it is just me. There are a couple of Korean teachers, but they teach different classes than I do. Also, physical contact isn’t forbidden like it is in America. The teachers and students have a very close relationship, so it is common for a teacher to bop a kid on the head or for a kid to hug or hold hands with a teacher. It seems more like paling around, which is a cool atmosphere. Additionally, one of the Korean teachers would slap the students hands if they didn’t have their homework, but it wasn’t a hard slap. Today two kids actually got hit with a cane by the head of the school because they had repeatedly not done their work. I’m working at a Hagwon, which is a private English school, and this is allowed if it is alright with the parents. Sarah, the teacher I’m shadowing, was surprised this happened (although not as shocked as I was) and she said that it had been more than a year since that had happened. She explained that it might have been a show of power by the principal since I was a new teacher, or it might have been because she was finally completely fed up with their unwillingness to work. I’m not sure why it had happened, but I wasn’t really bothered by it. These classrooms weren’t negative places and the kids were generally pretty happy in class and much better behaved than my students in the US. I guess another surprising thing is I’m the only male working there, which is fine by me.

After work, one of my roommates ran off to be with her boyfriend (this girl actually keeps pretty well to herself) while the other two girls called up a friend of theirs and the four of us went to eat dak galbi, which was a new experience. It wasn’t too radical compared to other Korean dishes I’ve been eating, but it was good none-the-less. I won’t be actually teaching until next week, but I’m already enjoying the job.

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~ by James on February 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “First Day as a Shadow”

  1. I am really enjoying your blog and hearing about your experiences. Looking forward to more.

  2. It’s awesome James ..loving it so far…enjoy your amazing adventure! Look forward to more!!

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