SLP, contrary to what I had imagined, has a very nice interior. Air conditioned (for the most part), a very modern look, some fish tanks on one of the floors opposite the elevator, and dozens of small classrooms with variable themed names instead of room numbers. There is a floor of Greek god rooms (Apollo, Zeus, etc.), a floor of animal rooms (Tiger, Penguin, and weirdly enough, Dragon and Unicorn), and a floor of character trait rooms (courage, honor, etc.). Each class I teach will be no larger than 12 students. Twelve!! The curriculum is very structured, and lesson planning should be a breeze as it will, once I get the hang of it, consist of writing down what pages in the book are being covered that day, as well as any homework.
The school has a large kindergarten population, though I won't be teaching any kindergarteners. One of my first experiences in the elevator - they pack them with as many people as will fit - was with an entire class of kindergarteners. It was SO ADORABLE!! This flood of children carried me bodily into the elevator, constantly waving and shouting "Teacher! Teacher!" at Luke (my supervisor) who was showing me around the building. I had one kid patting me on the back to get my attention, and when I looked he just goes "hello!" and waves enthusiastically. I almost died for how cute it was.
I got the tour, met the director - Mr. Jeoung - introduced myself to the staff (about half foreigners, mostly American), went over some stuff like when I'll get a health check for immigration, when I'll get a bank account, paid, etc. Then for the rest of the day I shadowed the woman, Katherine, who I'll be taking over for.
A little ENVoY goes a long way over here. The kids were rambunctious, but when Katherine had them guessing information about me like how old I am and where I'm from, I told them I wanted to see hands, and I would wait until it was quiet before continuing. Silence, hands. Kudos, Fowler. I also observed one class on CCTV. Every classroom in the school can be monitored from the CCTV room by school staff or parents. They'd kill for that kind of monitoring back in the US.
Although I was nervous about getting settled in, the work I'll be doing doesn't seem near as demanding of me, my time, or my abilities as student teaching was, which is a shame, but it is good to know I'll do just fine.
I'm trying to settle in to a routine of getting up and getting some Rosetta Stone done, then breakfast before showering and heading to work. If I'm diligent with my language study, I do think I will be able to at least function at a a level close to a where a Korean Kindergartener is in English. Those kids are reading English and speaking basic sentences, at 4-5 years old, it's astounding. Word on the street is that Hangeul, the written Korean Language, is very easy to learn and once you have it down much of the written Korean on signs and such is actually English phonetically spelled with Hangeul.
After work, I went out and had drinks with Tyler and Michael. Michael is Korean, a sort of Security guard and hallway manager at SLP. Really good guys, we had a lot of fun. Making friends is about a thousand times easier than I imagined it would be before I came over.
I'm going to try to remember to bring my camera around with me when I go out for breakfast this morning, then post up some pics tonight.