New Beginning

8 Sep

I have been at English Village in Paju South Korea for nearly 9 months now.  This past week with the ushering in of my new job teaching at the English Village Book Club… I feel all the newness, excitement, awkwardness, and anxiety of a beginner. While my months of experience teaching here have indeed prepared me better as a teacher of English for Korean students, I am now in new and somewhat foreign territory.

What is the big change you say?  Yes I am still teaching and working at English Village.  But my new job at the Book Club is a very different creature.  Gone for now are the days of teaching elementary, middle school, and sometimes adult and university students passing through the doors of English Village with lightning speed.  Here today is the new responsibility – teaching very young Korean children how to understand, read and speak English.  Our youngest student presently is 36 months, but on average our students are from around 4 years old to about 7.  Different indeed.

The perks are many.  First they are cute.  Truly adorable and innocent.  Often when I see their little faces I can’t help but light up and smile at their true sweetness.  The challenge for now is the basic adjustment of working with students with little to no understanding of English and teaching in a way that is appropriate and fun for little kids.  In many ways this is good for my spirit as I am in a room filled with English books that inspire me and some childhood (and adult) favorites.  Olivia, books and poems by Shel Silverstein, Harry Potter.  My childlike eyes are lit up by all the images and stories flooding the room.  As I begin my new job I am reminded of one of my “dreams” when I was in college… to work and write for Sesame Street.  Now some twenty years later, with a tendency towards a more serious bend in the wake of life’s challenges, perhaps it is a good refresher and reminder.

This week I have had the joy of coloring and cutting… a simple pleasure that just hasn’t been a part of my “adult” world.  The joy of bright and shiny mostly interested faces.  And the challenges of being faced with a room of four-years-olds who speak hardly a lick of if any English.  Yikes!  I have sung the alphabet song more than once the week… and I predict that there will be much more singing and silliness is in my future.

As a teacher in book club I now have regular students who meet in a scheduled class for a period of at least 3 months.  I also have regular parents… a blessing and possibly a challenge as on more than one occasion I have seen a parent watching me intently while teaching, checking out the “new teacher”.

I have spent my past week working with the teacher who is leaving Book Club and English Village.  I have done my best to glean from her wisdom and experience as I prepare for this coming week when I will create and teach the classes on my own.  I suspect there will be some challenges at first as I get used to teaching kids of a younger age and find my rhythm with them in the classroom.

So for now I am deeply immersed in a truly new experience at English Village.  Teaching where there is time to learn the students names and often know the parents personally.  A new beginning of sorts here at English Village.

As my week has come to an end I don’t feel the same exhaustion after a week in my previous position.  But in truth I am still a bit exhausted nonetheless… from the extra energy it takes for me in a new situation and adapting to changes.

But all is well in English Village.  Fall has fully made its presence known with cool mornings and warm to hottish days.  With my new work schedule I am working on Saturdays with my “weekends” on Sundays and Mondays.  It’s a quiet Sunday for me now… just the beginning of my weekend.  Looking forward to rest and rejuvenation as I prepare myself for my first week of teaching the Book Club students on my own.

Wish me luck!  In the meantime, what is new in your world?  It’s always good to hear from you!


Photo above:  Out with the old in with the new!  The last life of flowers gifted to me by a student in my last class of middle school students.  Still beautiful as they fade away.

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