Saturday, November 29, 2008

Misconceptions I Had About Teaching In A Korean School

  1. Koreans would but punctual: I thought the students would be on time to class. I remember getting in trough in high school and middle school for taking too long to get to class. We had five minutes to get from one class to another, or you got a lunch detention. I assumed that in Korea, the same importance on punctuality would apply (perhaps detention for elementary schoolers is a bit harsh), but my kids are never on time to class. Never. I don't even plan forty minute lessons anymore. There's no point. Half the time when the bell rings for the start of class, the classroom's still empty. The rest of the time, I'll have ten or fifteen students who are in class when the bell rings while the rest trickle in over the next five or ten minutes, and no one thinks anything of it. My co-teacher just waits until all the students are in class to start, and it's not just here. I've had homeroom teachers regularly bring their classes to the English room as much as ten minutes late. I'm not sure why, but I thought the Koreans would put a much greater emphasis on punctuality.

  2. Korean children would be calm and quiet: Ahahahaha. I should know better than to pay any attention to stereotypes, but given the incredible emphasis on education here, I assumed that my kids would be at least someone serious at school. Ahaha, not so much. That's myth lasted until my first day of work when I saw one boy throw another boy to the ground and punch him in the hall ways. They're violent little buggers. And do they every love to shout! We do a lot of repeating so they can mimic my accent and they don't say the words back at me, they roar them. When we play games, it's usually too loud to hear myself think.

  3. The students wouldn't bring knives to school: Not real knives, but all the kids have little Exacto knives that they whip out in the middle of class so they can cut something or sharpen their pencil or something. I've had students ask me for a knife before, which is a really odd experience. It definitely wouldn't happen back home.

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