Friday, March 30, 2012

Time for Class!

I've been in Suji for a month now and I think I am finally starting to get a hold on teaching.  I have to confess that I was secretly hoping Korean children would be really well behaved little angels, or at least much better than American students tend to be.  However, it turns out kids are kids no matter where you are - talkative and full of energy!

two of my darling kindergarten students on our field trip
The place where I work functions as a kindergarten school during the day and as an after-school academy (hagwon) in the afternoons/evenings.  Everyday I teach a kindergarten class from 10:00 to 2:30.  Right now I only have three students. Can you believe that?  However, on Friday I was told that starting this Monday we'll have a new student in our class! I'm excited!  Having a small class can be really nice because each of my students get a lot of individual attention.  However,  for the kids sake, a variety of students to play with would be a great thing.  Also, my kindergarten students are only five years old in Korean age.  That means they are really only three or four years old according to Western age. (Link to Wikipedia explaining the difference: )  Essentially, then, I am teaching preschool age children in an immersion setting.  All's I'll say for now is that it's a good thing they are so darn cute!  ^-^

Chris Teacher's Desk
I will also confess that I definitely cheat sometimes and sandwich Korean words in between English. For example, "That's the boy's bathroom.  Namja Hwajangshil ! Boy's bathroom!" when everyone tries to run and wash their hands together in the boy's bathroom.  I also think that my knowing some Korean helps a lot.   My students usually still talk to me and each other in Korean even though I almost always talk back to them in English. I think a few accidents were avoided because I understood "I have to pee!"  LOL!  Although one of my students still has issues with peeing their pants because she doesn't like going to the bathroom....

On M/W/F I teach first and second grade classes until 6:30.  Those days definitely feel the longest!  On T/Th I teach third, fourth and fifth grade until 6:45.  It's amazing how much English these kids can speak after just a few years.  I really like teaching elementary age students...if only they didn't talk so much ! (-;  Although, I suppose losing my voice for a week did not help much!

Also, I have to give major props to Korean students in general. They have so much homework everyday and jam-packed schedules. Starting in third grade the students usually bring a backpack with roller wheels because all of their books are too heavy to carry.  In one of my classes I had my students write about being stressed from school and what changes they would make if they could, etc.  It really helped me understand their schedules.  Most kids wake up early to study, go to elementary school, then come home and do homework for a couple of hours.  After that, Korean students usually go to some type of private academy (hagwon) that focuses on English or Math.  Sometimes they don't even get to eat dinner at home because they are at a hagwon.  When they finally do get home, they have to do their homework from the hagwon which may take a few hours as well.  Then, it's off to bed to start all over again the next day.  Although this is not the case for everyone, one of my students told me that her friend doesn't get to bed until 3 A.M. sometimes!  
Teacher's Room

Finally, I forget to explain why I am calling myself Chris Teacher.   There are already two other Christine's at LCI.  Story of my life (-;  I am getting much better at not turning around anytime someone calls the name 'Christine'.  Also, I've always wanted a nickname of some sort (Christiney-Beany does not count as I firmly believe a nickname needs to be shorter than the original!) so in the end I think it's win-win for Chris Teacher as well as the students.


  1. The kids look cute! Yeah I knew that Chinese count the year of your birth as 1 year old but didn't know it was that way with other Asian cultures. Interesting.

  2. Chris, can you contact me? My boyfriend and I are going to be interiewing for this school and I want to know more! My name is hana and my email is