Solo Teaching, Polyps and Polka Dots

Yesterday was my first full day of solo teaching, sans Korean teacher. (I thought the sans would be appropriate since the Korean are obsessed with their French pastries and it makes me sound so sophisticated… you know, now that I’m an English Teacher.)

Ok, who am I kidding. I’m not. I have no experience teaching bar the few kids I tutored during high school and my short stint at chuck e cheese. I mean, sure, I love kids and I played school all.the.time as a little girl. I remember the first teacher I fell in love with. Her name was Miss. Wolf and she was beautiful in every sense of the word. She had these perfect french manicured nails that I’d admire while she turned the pages during story time. And she wore these beautiful polka dot blouses. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. And here’s me making that dream a reality: I got a shellac french manicure the day before my flight and made sure to pack all my polka dot stuff.

But… I’m slowly realizing that it’s going to take a lot more than a manicure and polka dots to really make this dream a reality… the one of not just looking like a teacher but of actually being a good one.

One of my classes (the TOEFL level) has just one kid in it. This kid is smart. And knows more English than I do. I know this is the public domain and at the risk of thoroughly embarrassing myself (after that Clorox story, I figure anything goes here) I’m going to admit that I had no idea what polyps was. While preparing for this particular class, I freaked out and had to plug in my headsets in the teacher’s lounge (for obvious reasons: not to oust my stupidity in real life too) to hear how the word is properly pronounced. Just in case I had to correct him during reading. And this kid? He just breezed through it. Even knew what it meant. DO YOU KNOW WHAT POLYPS MEANS!? 

Anyway, he’s smart. Can read. and knows the meaning of words like polyps for god’s sake! But he refuses to speak to me. The only words that come out of his mouth are… words on the page. And answers. The correct ones. But conversation with Tia? Nope. He wasn’t having any of it. So I did what any sensible teacher would do.

Googled child psychology. English teacher tips. How to teach English abroad without pulling your hair out.

So that’s my story. BUT I’M NO GIVER UPPER! I’ll be back for more. And I’m going to make this kid talk. If my life depends on it.  Yes, I’m kinda dramatic like that. In the meantime, if you have any tips on how to make a 15 year old shy Korean boy talk, please send them my way.

And because every post is better with a picture… or two…

Wanna know what the BEST part about living in a country where you don’t understand the language and therefore the signs is? You can amuse yourself to no end making up sign meanings … I think this one says “DON’T TAKE PICTURES IF YOU’RE WEARING STRIPES AND POLKA DOTS… AT THE SAME TIME.”

Oh and Mom, this picture is for you… LOOOOOOOOVE ME

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