Saturday, January 15, 2011

Previously in my life...

I feel like I haven't talked too much about what's been happening at work lately, or how classes are going. Since it's such a big part of my week and my whole reason for being here after all let's remedy that.

So I've talked a little bit about how my schedule looks but to give you a better idea I'll just break it down:

Memory Giga 4:30-7:25pm

Memory Mega 4:30-7:25
Par Reading 7:35-10:30

Memory Giga 4:30-7:25

Memory Mega 4:30-7:25
Par Listening 7:35-10:30

Memory Giga 4:30-7:25
Par Listening 7:35-10:30

In the world of CDI, Memory refers to a part of the curriculum that covers three levels- Mega, Giga, and Tera. Mostly these classes consist of 4th-6th graders, the elementary school kids. Memory classes are preceded by EC2, EC3, and EC4 though I don't teach any of those. After Memory there are Reading and Listening classes with the levels Bridge, Par, Birdie, Eagle, Albratross, Albatross+, and Masters. Reading and Listening is mostly for middle schoolers.

The kids come for two classes a week so with this schedule I'm teaching six different groups of kids throughout the week. My Monday Giga class I only see that once and then another teacher covers their second class of the week on Wednesday. My Tuesday/Thursday Mega is the same bunch of students and so is my Wednesday/Friday Giga (I tried color coding it, if that helps explain at all). For the middle school kids they have Reading class during the first part of the week and Listening class during the second. I have some students that I teach for both but mostly it's a new group each class.

So classes have been going all right and sometimes I actually get to teach some interesting material. For Memory we basically just have a storybook and we spend the class reading the story together and going through the workbook and answering different questions, filling in blank portions of a story summary, determining the meaning of words from the context, etc.

Usually the stories are lame and the kids are disappointed at the end because nobody died but for Reading and Listening it's better. I got to teach a Reading class recently on Lord of the Rings which I absolutely loved although the students were mostly only interested because apparently in Korean, Tolkien sounds like "dorky" so they thought that was funny. Then in Listening we had a lesson on gender imbalance and the problem with China's one-child policy which I could go on for ages about. It makes it much more enjoyable to teach when the lesson is something I'm already familiar with and talk about anyway. Sometimes the subject is totally new and I do a little research beforehand but so far this term it's been all right.

Currently we're preparing for the Level-Up tests which all CDI students take during week 10 of each term. Their performance determines, obviously from the name, whether or not they can move on to the next level. The tests take up all of class so for us teachers we just spend the whole time proctoring/surfing the internet. I am more than okay with this.

For this term though the week of Level-Up tests coincides with Lunar New Year, which is the celebration of the first day of the lunar calendar, as opposed to the solar New Year on January 1st. In Korea this holiday is called Seollal (설날) and everyone gets three days off, woo!

This year those days are February 2-4 which is Wednesday-Friday. Level-Up tests were bumped to week 9 and because CDI is crazy, we have to make up two of the days we're getting off by working one weekend. So before I even arrived in Yeonsu the big question at our branch was whether or not our boss would make us work the weekend following Seollal. Three days off is pretty nice but five days, especially five days when you rarely get any vacation time, is so much better.

So it was a pleasant surprise when we finally find out that we do indeed have a five day break from work! The only downside is that we're working the weekend before the New Year which means a nine-day work week but since that's the week of testing and we don't do any teaching anyway it's really not all that bad. A very reasonable trade-off in the end.

And I'm going to be spending those five days taking a trip to Taiwan! I'm going with two of the other teachers and we'd been considering China and Japan as well but on such short notice Taiwan ended up being our best bet for a flight. It's more than I'd wanted to pay but we're flying business class and hey, I'm young and I only live once right? I won't be getting another vacation until the summertime and Taipei is a heck of a lot warmer than Incheon this time of year so there are enough perks to justify the spending. I'm excited to get out there and see a little bit more of the world!

Despite it being freeeeeeezing this weekend I'm going to try to plan some sort of sightseeing expedition or something for tomorrow so hopefully there will be fun shiny pictures to add to my next post to make up for the wall of text. Stay tuned!

Trivia of the Day: Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church on Yeouido (Yoi Island) in Seoul, South Korea. With about 1,000,000 members, it is the largest Protestant Christian congregation in South Korea, and the world. Founded and led by David Yonggi Cho since 1958, it is an internationally visible manifestation of Korean Christianity. Cho still conducts two services of the seven the church holds a day; they are so heavily attended that people often must arrive an hour early to have a seat. In the heart of Seoul, the Yoido Full Gospel Church sits directly across from Korea's National Assembly. The building is large enough to seat 26,000 people, with overflow sent to nearby buildings who watch events in the main church on telescreens.

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