Today is the first day of my last semester in Seoul! Wow, it has been quite a journey. Every now and then I take a moment to remember how excited and scared I was to come to Korea. I wanted this. I really really really wanted this! Haha. Now here we are almost towards the end and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
Classes started a week ago, but I’ve been deskwarming the entire time due to some scheduling issues. Not that I was complaining. I finally started teaching my first set of classes this morning and a part of me was really happy to see how naturally I eased back to standing in front of the classroom. I always get a little nervous whenever we come back from a long break, but especially since this was the start of a new school year with a fresh crop of middle school freshmen.
My first class was with a co-teacher that I have had a friendly relationship with from the beginning. I know that I don’t have much to worry about whenever I see her name on my schedule. Class 206 was amazing! It helped that I had them as 7th graders last year and they already know what to expect in my class. It reminded me why there will be a part of me that will always be in love with my job.
My next class was with a new co-teacher and well, that was interesting. Usually the new 7th graders are really shy and quiet, but these kids rushed into my classroom like ill-behaved monkeys. They were screaming or just mocking me every time I told them to calm down and find a seat. In these cases you have to learn to calm down yourself and see the classroom in an objective point of view. Korean students always act as a collective. Which means if the strong personalities in the classroom are disruptive, the rest of them start behaving that way.
I took a step back in order to observe the classroom more carefully and realized that there were two of them that were acting out. Once they were seated, I separated the two boys and put them next to girls. Usually that does the trick, but they continued shout at me and blurt out answers repeatedly. I eventually made them stand outside until I could personally deal with them without wasting more of the class’ time. Out of sight, out of mind. I have 30 students to deal with, I will erase you out of my classroom if you misbehave and what do you know, everyone started paying attention the moment they left. Works every time. We’ll see if they have the balls to do it again, but I am not about to put up with any type of misbehavior my last semester. Hahaha.
It’s those type of classes that make me excited to finish out my contract.