I've been teaching in Korea for around 10 months now and I think it's high time I take you through a day teaching in Korea! This is my second busiest day, the other three don't have nearly as much.

Wake Up: 7:10AM - Beginning to my Day Teaching in Korea

I technically don't have to wake up this early any day except Fridays (when I go to my travel school). But I like to get up early!

I spend my hour before leaving like this:

  • 10 minutes to adjust myself to being alive after waking, read a bit, watch a video, etc.
  • 20 minutes to get ready, get dressed, do my makeup, and pack my bag.
  • 20 minutes for breakfast - I don't like being rushed when I'm eating.
  • 10 minutes quick yoga. If I didn't do this, the amount of sitting I do all day would break me.

The schedule of classes for the next two months. Different grades and teams are highlighted in different colors and the videos to record run alone the left side.

My crazy schedule, my poor co-teacher said it took her all night!

And then I head out the door!

Leave for Work: 8:10AM

It's around a 7 minute walk to the bus stop, which means I get there with a little breathing room before the 8:20 bus. I meet my coworker who takes the same bus and we chat a bit while we wait.

The bus takes around 18 minutes, and I normally get the chance to talk to my friend who also works at my school. It's an incredibly crowded, bumpy, tiny bus so sometimes it's not possible to talk. In that case I hold on for dear life while watching a YouTube video.

Work "Starts" 8:40

Almost everyone's teaching job will technically start at 8:40. But you'll never have classes before 9AM. This gives you 20 minutes to re-caffinate, scream at your useless computer, try to print a worksheet, and race out the door.

An empty office with several desks in a U-shape around two couches and a coffee table in the center.

My office at my main school that I share with three other people.

Luckily, today is a day where I don't start classes until 9:40 so I get to sit here writing this blog post until 9:35. Since this late start only happens twice a week I fully spend it doing whatever I feel like. This schedule changes every semester so if you're curious what it was last semester, check it out!

I grab the textbook, my timetable, the worksheets, and my pointer (because I am short and the TV is big) and head out the door!

First Class 9:40

My classroom is on the third floor of an entirely separate building from my second floor office. It's a lot of up and down. I got pretty sick about a week ago so all of these stairs are killing me.

As the Coronavirus is still a thing (and frankly, Korea's not handling it so well anymore...) classes have been split into A teams and B teams. A team will come the first week and B team the second. As I'm dealing with B team today it means it's a repeat of the class I did last week. Hooray for no-prep-needed, boo for boredom.

My co-teacher is amazing this semester so class is, for the most part, delightful compared to what it used to be. In general, it's uneventful! I taught for 25 minutes and then my co-teacher taught the remaining 15.

Break Time! 10:20

Ten minutes of break time means grabbing a cup of water and a snack. I listened to the commiserations of the homeroom teachers. When my co-teacher complained to the homeroom teacher that only one of the children had done their homework he replied "I can't control them, only endure them." I need to start adopting that attitude towards life.

Second and Third Classes 10:30

There's no break between these classes so gear up! In the second class I learned the word for "twins" in Korean, which is apparently samdoongi. I tend to learn one word a day in this job, which is not a whole lot, but at least some progress is being made.

The third class was the most interesting while also being the most stressful. There was one boy who was clearly smarter than all the rest but decided to take over the role of teacher wherever he felt he could. Yah. Kid. That's my job. Sit down and shut up *grumble grumble* Additionally, there were also two kids who were more behind than any other class, so the disparity was even more clear.

But! It's over and back to my office I go. Stairs. Stairs. Stairs. Up more stairs.

Lunch Time! 12:00

I don't pay for the school meals. And I'm perfectly happy to have chosen that, especially now. The cost of school meals seems to have doubled for most of the teachers I know, now around 5,000krw a meal! You might as well eat out at that rate.

So, I enjoy my ham, lentil, and rice soup while I learn about the Winchester Mystery House on Youtube. We all have hobbies 😛

A desk with a computer monitor, a keyboard, a ceramic black mug, a paper cup, and a textbook. A day teaching in Korea!

My workstation at my main school.

After lunch I realize I've forgotten to edit a Powerpoint for my sixth graders so I rush to do that. It takes me all of 5 minutes and then I start work on this blog 🙂

I decide to record one of the videos I need to finish this week. I could leave it for tomorrow but there's no reason not to do it now. Especially as my office is actually quiet for once. Normally the people in my office are very insistent on not doing work and like chatting with each other. Which is totally fine but occasionally I actually have to do something!

.....Or my computer could just not work. Oh well, guess it's time to leave now!

Catch the Bus 1:30

I arrive with 10 minutes to spare before class. I race around to grab my attendance sheet, my word searches (I've opted for the easy games this week, can you tell?) and the books we're using. Just an average Wednesday for a day teaching in Korea 😛

First After School Class 1:50

We're learning the Cat in the Hat. Which is, by the way, not a good book for learning English. Sure, it rhymes. But it's long, around 40 pages. And the words are often archaic like "as he lit." Not "lit a candle" but as in sitting/placing oneself. I've got a pretty broad vocabulary because I read too many books from dead people. I have never heard anyone use the word "lit" in that context.

Anyways, with that struggle of a class over, we move on!

Second After School Class 2:40

This is the first time I don't have a co-teacher while working with the third graders who speak absolutely no English. Woohoo for me...Luckily the last two weeks have at least got them understanding the most basic phrases.

Day teaching in Korea. An empty classroom with many double-seater desks, two white boards, and a large flat screen tv in the center of the wall. On the right there is a wall of windows and counters.

My classroom at my travel school when empty.

I have absolutely no plans when I teach this class because I have no idea what I'm doing. But I am trying. So far we've learned "I like ____ and _____" and "I don't like ____." Progress!

Preparing Classes and Freetime 3:20

The school has apparently decided not to buy new books. So I guess I'm printing them out so the kids aren't reading off the screen. I've also made the crossword for the third graders next week. I'm also trying to be a little bit more scheduled with the third graders. Their English level was a surprise two weeks ago because the previous third graders I taught were all at a decent level. So now I need to completely re-do all of my plans.

A small single person office with a wall of windows on the right side. There is a pink divider through the middle of the room, a large poster printer, and a small round table with a few chairs. Just a day teaching in Korea!

My office at my travel school! I have it all to myself 😀

But! I manage to do everything within a half hour and now I get to finish up this blog post.

Wait for the Bus 4:30 - End to My Day Teaching in Korea

Because my travel school is in the middle of nowhere I'm allowed to leave 10 minutes early to catch the one bus that goes by around once an hour. Sometimes this bus comes at a reasonable time, sometimes I'm waiting 20 minutes.

My bus takes around 25 minutes to get me back to town, where I walk for another 10 minutes as they drop me off in a very inconvenient place. Luckily, today my friend is on the bus too. We're planning to go get coffee and talk about our Tinder experiences in the last week 😛 An end to my day teaching in Korea - a pretty ok day!

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