March 1st hailed a new School year for Korean children… they had 3 days to get used to the fact they were going to be in a higher grade and we had 3 days to prepare for the fact our schedule was going to be totally re-shuffled, new hours and new students.
Our first day back, Tuesday 2nd was what we expected, total chaos, the schedules were non existent for a few hours and nobody had a clue what was going on! When we finally got our schedule’s we finally had a few hours to figure out what kids we were expecting, what text books they were studying and where those textbooks were located. I lost most of my kids to Jenny and Mary but was lucky enough to keep my worst classes. I also found out that Tuesday will be the worst day of my week where despite only having six classes I will be at work from 8.40AM to 8PM! (ARGH Hagwons) Luckily the first four days of term, we were teaching only elementary students. However last week our Kindergarten kids turned up. I am teaching a group of ‘Wonder 5’ students which means Korean five year olds whom I teach for an hour a day. Its becoming an interesting experience. Firstly because there are nine students, (this is big for Hagwon, last term there were four!) and secondly because Korean five year old’s are Normal age 3/4 and these kids are somewhat obviously younger rather than older. They are BABIES. They were terrified on the first day to the point I couldn’t move from my position on the floor in case they freaked out, one child was screaming so loudly you could have heard her for miles. I have also discovered that their favourite thing to do is to pull everything off my shelves, throw it onto the floor and then laugh hysterically.
The best bit of teaching beginners as that I got to give them all names! In the majority of Asian countries, when an individual starts learning English, they are given and English name and their English teacher gets to name them… As well as this beginners class, they were a few other random students I named. Jenny and Mary my fabulous co-teachers and I had great fun coming up with names, Jenny went with names of former pets (Hello Olive and Polly), Mary went with the names of literary greats (Holden) and I went with names I thought were cute…
Isis, the lucky devil, is the child that screams constantly and demands to be picked up, was names after Isis travel and education, the fabulous company I worked for over the summer. My staff however believe that Isis is simply the name of a Greek Goddess.
Harvey’s Mum called a few days after the naming process and asked to have his name changed. This often happens, normally the parents want names that we try to avoid like the traditional John or Alice, but Harvey’s Mum? Nope. She wanted Raphael, after the artist. Genius.