Looking forward to Christmas on a Beach
13.11.2006 8 °C
I know its been a while since I updated everyone with what has been happening here. This is mostly because I have been too tired during the week and too busy on the weekends to write anything. Believe it or not, teaching has actually become quite stressful. Well, let me rephrase that - the actual teaching is fine and I still really enjoy it. But its all the paper work and preparation that goes with it.
All of which has become much worse since one of our teachers was fired 2 weeks ago. This, of course, means that all of her classes have been shared between the rest of us, giving us more preparation work and fewer free periods to do it in. This is the first job I've had in which I come to work an hour early most days! Hopefully, when the replacement teacher arrives in a couple of weeks, some of the pressure will be taken off everyone else, but in the mean time we're all very busy. Here's a run down of the stuff I have to do at work.
Every class has to have very specific preparation done. For example, reading classes have to have vocabulary tests and comprehension photocopied and you have to have read and made notes on the lesson's reading. Listening classes are the most awkward because you have to photocopy the script pages you are studying (i.e. Mulan and Digimon!), then each script page also needs a wordlist to go with it, with all the new vocabulary on it, and then there is also a test to do. At the moment I have to do 3 pages of script and 3 wordlists each lesson, plus 2 pages of tests. Which means a hell of a lot of photocopying. And when you consider that there are 7 foreign teachers and 4 korean staff all sharing one, extremely temperamental photocopier, you can start to understand why it takes more than the allocated one hour to prepare 5-6 classes each day.
The marking isn't usually too bad, because we are meant to hand in all of our students' work to be marked by a part-time admin worker. However, after the last one left recently, a replacement was found, but she disappeared after 3 days and hasn't been seen since. So we are having to do a lot of our own marking. This means a 2 tests for every reading lesson, one for each listening class, and essays for writing classes.
At the end of each month, all students are given an exam to test what they have learnt that month. At the moment, the schedules are a bit out of sync though, so middle school students are having their exams halfway through the month and elementary school students are having theirs at the end of the month. And we have to write these tests and mark them. So as soon as you have finished marking the middle school tests, you are writing the elementary ones.
These three are just the basic parts of the paperwork and admin that goes with the job. On top of this, there are extra evening classes put on that people get roped into doing, Saturday classes and tests, extra marking for entrance tests etc etc. The only good thing about it, is that you get paid overtime for most of it.
Anyway, the reason I am mentioning all this is that I am very excited tonight because after all this work, I have just booked my xmas holiday to Vietnam!! We are flying out to Ho Chi Minh on December 23rd and spending three days there. Then - and this is the really exciting part - we are spending three days on an island south of Ho Chi Minh, which you can get to by Russian military helicopter!!!!! There is a small plane that can take you too, but I am really excited by the helicopter
The island archipelago we are going to is called Con Dao, and we're staying on Con Son Island (look it up on google!) - 80% of which is a national park, with sea turtles nesting on the beach, dolphins and Dugongs (which are like manatees apparently). We're gonna spend our three days sunbathing and snorkelling around coral reefs. Well, as long as the weather is good! And considering it will be approaching -10C in Jeonju by the end of December, I will be looking forward to some warm weather. The weather has finally turned here and it looks beautiful with all the red and gold leaves, but I have had a cold for 4 days now.
So - that should bring you up to date. Its 2am now and I need some sleep. Goodnight!