Today was the big day – we had to present our lesson plans, meet our office of education and get our placements.
We had to watch and rate everyone’s lesson plans in our group. One group just sort-of quit early and didn’t take it seriously at all. Apparently they didn’t read the directions that you had to do a full 15 minute class so they just sort-of pretended to send us home which was strange. Everyone else put a lot of effort into theirs and some were pretty decent.
Ours was bullshit because I got paired up with two people who were teachers last year (not in the public school system). They didn’t let me have a say in any of the process. They actually wrote the whole lesson plan and then halfheartedly showed me the next morning – what do you think of it? Uhhh…. When I finally told them that night that I didn’t like what we were doing and wanted to have a say in it they kept saying “I hear what you’re saying” but they didn’t. So we did our lesson plan, the guy kept overriding what I was saying, acting strange and telling us what to do, and then he added an improv which was bullshit when three people come up with a plan, one person does not go and improv something. We knew we would barely be under 15 minutes. So he added something that took away time from the other two people in our group. Huge asshole thing to do. The guy ended up loving our lesson, he kind of smacked me in the arm and said “didn’t hear anything from you” then spent 5 minutes talking to them about where did they teach and blah blah blah. Freaking bullshit – I was in that lesson plan too! Don’t just talk to them the whole time.
Chris’s group was more full of shit that none of them had ever made a lesson plan and yet demanded to override any ideas Chris had to offer. The three spent more time debating points – simple decicions that we’re suprised it even got done. The guy who reviewed it actually really liked it though.
After all the lesson plans were done, we voted for the best one – my group won. Which is still shit because I didn’t have any say in it and didn’t get anything out of it. The prize for winning was a shiny bag full of leftover snacks. Hooray (sarcasm).
We were finally released from the lesson plan things and went to the room that would change our lives. 212 if anyone was wondering. Except no one was there. So we all waited outside. The poor office of education workers showed up with a box of all our placements and then we all just stood and looked at each other for a while until someone came to unlock the door. We filed in and sat – they laid out all the placements on the table. We’re just staring. But no, we have to wait a little longer. Some people had to say a few words, some more people had to talk a little bit. Finally someone was like “here’s what to expect in your packets” she holds mine up for an example. She explains what’s in it and what we’re going to do, the whole time she’s just waiving it around I’m like
“You’re probably wanting to know where you’re placed” she says finally, putting it down. Lady, you have no idea. Over a year, now.
I’m one of the second people to get the packet. So early that I’m not sure if its rude to rip it open and find out. The first person who got his was waiting – like how you’re supposed to wait for everyone to be served before you eat. Pretty soon I was like, hell naw I’m opening this up.
I really really don’t want multiple schools. Ah, I really don’t want an elementary school. But I would rather have an elementary than two schools – I would have to juggle so much to be at two schools. It’d be nice to be near Chris….
They put 3 contracts on the top – so you pull it out thinking ohmygodomygodohmygod and then you’re like. Wait, this isn’t anything. The placement was almost at the bottom. But since they didn’t explain why there was 3 contracts in the packet my first thought was a heart-dropping oh my god. I have three schools. How in the F am I going to teach at three schools and ever get a vacation (with Chris).
By now Chris has his packet and we’re both sorting around through a hundred papers to find that golden sheet. And then bam. There it is.
_____ Middle School (we aren’t going to say which one) – Mixed boys and girls. 850 students, about 40 teachers.
and for Chris:
_____ Middle school. His had less information but it’s mixed and has a staff of 57.
Chris says “I got middle school!” hooray.
“Check! Check! Make sure you don’t have more schools!” I’m still frantically turning papers over and making sure I have just the one.
“No just the one!” we celebrate a little. Can you imagine trying to coordinate our vacations (so we can both travel together) between three or even four schools?
We are so, so happy. Both of us wanted middle school and the more time we’ve spent at orientation the more we’ve realized that we’re really not cut out for elementary school students. Many of you asked us before we left the United States what we wanted “Middle school” and your reactions to this was usually: “ewww, why?” because they already have a tiny bit of foundational knowledge. Because they have less of a chance of playing poop needle on you (don’t ask). Because you don’t have to sing everything you say to keep their interest. We are happy.
We both realize our schools are in the same district -an excellent start. It’s important to be close to each other. Maybe we can walk to school together? I got lost going from the bathroom back to our lecture room today so I’m really feeling how important it is that we be nearby – I may need help getting to school (or at least pointed in the right direction) for the first few months. And Chris is really good at directions.
A native English teacher comes around and helps us all find our schools on a map. We’re not near each other- we’re next door to each other.
The lady who placed us came over like she recognized us “you are next to each other, when I was reading your applications and essays I almost put one of you in an elementary school but I think you both would be happy like this”
We are. And it’s very cool to know this was chosen for us – it wasn’t random.
Walking to school together? Yes please. And you see all those building around the school – giant Korean-style apartments. They absolutely surround the schools, so there is a pretty darn good chance we’re going to be living in one.
We had a painfully long closing ceremony – even though it was only 30 minutes. Then a huge feast of a dinner. We didn’t know we were supposed to eat with our class so we just sat alone. One guy from our class (who also didn’t know) joined us – he taught in a Hagwon (for profit tutoring school) in the same area where we’ll be living – The TechnoValley.
Some more about the Techno Valley
It’s on the exact opposite end of town from where we are currently. In fact, it was barely on our map. Initially we thought rural? No. Not rural at all. It’s a pretty new side of town that
is destined to become a self-sufficient complex town which will harmonize the environment, industries, commercial activities, supply chains, recreation and leisure facilities, and a residential district.
What we’ve learned from this is Techno Valley dreams big.
The guy at dinner said that we would be able to see smoke stacks and manufacturing from the area. Yuck. But we can hop on a bike and take a river trail all the way into the downtown-proper area. Cool. He told us about some favorite restaurants and good stores in the area.
As we were returning our plates, our class leaders were almost upset with us “where were you, why weren’t you sitting with us?” This worked out really well and we didn’t have to bond with a bunch of people over dinner. Our quiet three person dinner was just what I needed.
I’m either getting sick or have bad allergies. I really can’t tell. So while our class leaders were there I asked if the nurse’s office was open still. They weren’t sure but walked us up there to check. We opened the door and she was just sitting alone in the room with a book. The whole EPIK staff is gorging themselves on a huge feast across the street and she’s just sitting alone reading. It looked pretty sad.
I told her my symptoms and she gave me an allergy pill that is supposed to work for 24 hours. She asked if my throat hurt – a little – here, have a tylenol. Cool, thanks. She gave me my pills and sent me on my way. I pulled a Chocopie (basically a moon pie but huge trading fodder amongst Koreans) and gave it to her. She was surprised but happy, “you don’t have to pay” (haha as if Chocopie was legal tender to purchase my medicine). I didn’t know how much English she could speak beyond medical jargon so I just left it at “you can have it” Really I thought it was sad to be a very unappreciated member of the EPIK staff and mostly because she’s just sitting alone in an office while the whole campus is feasting.
Now we’re just packing. We have to have our bags in the fitness center for our pickups by our offices of education. We’ll go to the DMOE (Daejeon Metropolitain Office of Education) in the morning and meet our co-teachers by noon. After that, no one can say. It’s up to every school what they want to do with us. Most likely we’ll go to our school to see it, meet our principals and vice principals. But maybe not. We may even get the ball rolling to get our registration cards. Eventually we’ll end up in our apartment.
And with that, we may leave for a while. More than likely we will not have internet in our apartment and cannot get internet until we have our registration cards. We will have internet at school. But who knows. So know that if we don’t blog for a while – it’s okay. We’re just getting our feet under us in a new country and may not have the thoughts to bring a laptop to a coffee shop to check email/blog. 🙂