Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A New School Year

Back in the US, the new school year traditionally begins the day after Labor Day, which is the first Monday in September. They still do that in some places, but in much of the country, the school year starts earlier and earlier, nibbling away at the "three best reasons to teach" (June, July and August) until there's only two and a quarter.

Korea has a similar scheme, with the school year beginning on March 2, the day after the Sam-il (3-1) Independence Movement holiday, commemorating 1919 demonstrations against the repressive Japanese occupation of Korea.

So, tomorrow begins my third full year teaching Conversational English, although actually, the day consists of (if it follows form) a couple of faculty meetings and an all-school assembly in the hall on the fifth floor of my building, where sometimes students dribble basketballs during inclement weather.

This is to be Principal Jun's last semester, and I understand everyone is waiting to find out who his replacement will be, although I don't expect that will be announced tomorrow. I can say I have appreciated his support and regard.

I went in today to get my classroom ready, mainly cleaning two months of Seoul city grime off all the horizontal surfaces, trimming and placing my plants and fixing up the bulletin board. I also got a couple of weeks worth of lesson plans squared away, though that's iffy due to the fact there has been talk about streaming the classes--if they've actually done it, I'll have modifications to make. I'll make them gladly.

Yes, it creates more work for me, but if they won't give me smaller classes or more face time, organizing classes by English level is probably the most effective change they could make. The other thing the new Department Head hoped to work out for me was a team planning period with my co-teachers, weekly or twice a month. This would be great, as I expect I'll have a slate of newbies, given the way they rotate this duty--turns out, it's not seen as a chore by most, but as a plum. Not because of me so much as because it counts as a regular class assignment.

So, here we go again--off into another year with new challenges, new faces, new minds. The best time of year is the first day of school--when we all get create ourselves anew!


George Bailey Sees The World! said...

That's what I'm talking about! Thanks for the up-beat message. I'm kind of in the same boat - holding off planning in full until a complete schedule is made for me. It seems to still be up in the air if I will be teaching all 3 middle school grades, or just 2 of them. To me, this seems like an important choice. What grades or leevels do you teach? I can't recall...

Tuttle said...

I teach all "first graders" equivalent to tenth grade, and about half the second graders, the ones in the "social studies" stream.
I have just learned that's 14 sections of one and 6 sections of the other.

George Bailey Sees The World! said...

My people clearly need to talk to your people.