I teach here.

You are cordially invited to join me on a “tour” of my school.  By tour, I mean look at some photos I took during my planning period. The video didn’t come out well. Maybe next time I’ll look for a Korean film kid  on Elance.

This is half of my school. It services about 1,000 kids, all of which live in the overly prevalent concrete monstrosities you see in the background. They surround the school (and Seoul in general). South Korea, a country about the size of Indiana, has a population of around 48 million people. Indiana, on the other hand, registers at about 6.5 million.  Land is a hot commodity around here.

The school is divided into two buildings: one for 1-3 grade, one for 4-6 grade. The Korean government does not require kindergarten so if a child attends a kindergarten program (which they will), it’s through a private company.

The  entrance way to the 4-6 side of the building (the administrative offices reside here as well, including the principal). I once made the mistake of asking if the flowers were real. They are. Notice that lovely full length mirror prominently displayed as you first walk in. Who says looks aren’t important?

Cubbies for all of the teachers’ shoes. Shoes aren’t worn in houses here and school is your home away from home…. I have my own cubby (bottom left hand corner) that holds my ugly and frumpy but free slippers.

This is the English hallway- all two classrooms. I’m all the way at the end. English education begins in the 3rd grade. The Native English Teaching Program varies from school to school. (Each school is autonomous under a loose school district. For example, there’s no uniform school year. Schools follow a similar schedule but the calendars are determined by the principal.) I teach 5th and 6th grade.

This is my desk and all of the appropriate things on it that make me look productive and professional. I work 9-5 Monday through Friday which is important to note because Korean kids go to school twice a month on Saturdays. I’m contracted to teach 22 hours per week. In addition, I have an advanced level “special class” that meets after school twice a week. That’s 25 hours of teaching and 15 hours of planning. But wait!  22 hours really means 22 classes and each class is only 40 minutes long. If you do the math, I’m actually teaching less than 17 hours per week. 23 hours of planning– that’s almost 4 hours per 40 minute lesson plan. Let’s just say there’s a lot of down time…

These are my fifth graders. They’re clearly thrilled to be learning English. Like any good elementary school, we’ve got inspirational messages on our walls reminding our students that “Dreams come true!”– especially if they involve one day working for LG or Samsung.

And this is what they’re staring at. Or not staring at. My school’s behind on the times. We’re an older school with a smaller budget. A lot of the schools are now furnished with flat screen TVs and touch screen white boards. I’ve heard rumors they’re coming over summer break…


May 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. dag05d replied:

    HILZ! Look at you being little miss teacher. I love every bit of it 🙂 LOVE ❤

  2. Dad replied:

    Your school looks very lovely. Hats off to the janitorial staff who keep it looking good. Having cleaned your bedroom and car, I was surprised to see
    how neat, clean, and orderly your desk is. I think that
    the Korean regimen has been good for you..

    Your Head Janitor

  3. No more teachers, No more books. « life without an oven replied:

    […] for spring break before beginning a new school year around March 1st. I mentioned it before in my teaching post but once again, the dates are approximate because each school determines its own calendar. I have a […]

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