The first week back to work went all right with a few jolts to remind me that I am teaching first grade. The kid's levels have been changed and there are new groups now. Overall, most of them are descent but there is one that is just pure awfulness. However, I have good feelings for this semester which is helped by the prep work I have done and the experience behind me.
This morning the air is a bit breezy and cool, which means Fall is on its way here. I don't hear any cicadas buzzing, well just a few, but with it not being so deafening anymore this is also a sign of the changing seasons.
I feel this vacation was especially good for me because I feel balanced out. The free time allowed me to understand what transpired during the last semester and what I need to focus on for the next. I feel mentally ready to take on the challenges.
As I woke up semi-late this morning (7:45 AM) I knew tomorrow was going to be a work day. Usually I am woken by Tom nudging me or climbing on top of me to get a good petting in before the day starts. On work days I can only give him that good petting for a short little time. But I am not here to complain, just saying my lovely two weeks of vacation are quickly ending.
What is this? You might be asking, since Jeju is just about 50 minutes away by plane from Seoul and doesn't require one to change time zones. Well then, let me enlighten you.
Jeju jet lag is a mental and physical condition where one experiences the rush that comes with leaving Jeju and arriving back in Seoul. The body will immediately feel toasty from all the sunburns but also tired from all the hiking, walking and swimming. The mind will feel a sense of nostalgia for the Jeju country side and vast green spaces. Also, ones mind will feel the readjustment of being back in the urban jungle of Seoul.
To cure Jeju jet lag I recommend heading home, taking a good cleansing shower and hitting the hay. If you have to pick up two cats along the way (one is yours...the other your friend's) for cat sitting, then so be it.
When coming back from a trip to Jeju Island one might experience, "Jeju jet lag" as I am having right now.
So I am going to Jeju for 5 days and not bringing my computer. I am sure you can put two-and-two together. Whatever you are doing for the next week just enjoy it, okay!
Camp, as mentioned earlier, wasn't planned very well even though the planning committee did do hard work. I want to step up for winter camp and plan some new stuff for them, but am trying to lay-low so not to seem like a pushy person.
There are just three more days of camp and thank goodness! Although, tiring and often mind-boggling strange, the camp has been going pretty well. I have learned what the low-levels need and how better to pace myself for them. They take time to process the English and I try to give it to them in a slow yet understandable manner. But mostly they want to learn through games, crafts and activities. I guess that is true for all first-graders.
Mostly what happens to me is that I sit back and think about my past. It's not just homesickness but the feeling that you are getting older and further away from everyone and everything in your past. Then you end up listening to a podcast and hear the following song by Adele. The rainy weather might be affecting me but generally sometimes my life in Korea makes me feel isolated and lonely. Maybe that is why I push so hard to get out on the weekend and why I am always reading other folk's blogs.
You finish work and you go home. What do you do? You should go to the gym and exercise. You should study Korean or do some painting.
"The road closures and sporadic public transportation
made commuters late for work, and people took off their shoes and socks
in offices to dry them."
I really thought I didn't need such a thing as an iPhone, mostly because I have an iPod and a phone and really people don't call me that much. But then my friend was snazzily working away at her iPhone looking at a map and Googling something there on the street. I thought to myself, "Maybe I could use such a thing when I go to Jeju. In case I get lost."
Thus ensued a trip yesterday to the KT headquarters in Gwanghwamun with my friend and her Korean boyfriend (who was kind enough to help me.)
JH really likes the one up there, and I call the following, "leaf flowers".
Things I've Learned:
First graders do require a lot of energy, but you don't have to put on a show all the time. They like games and things for them to do that can keep their minds and hands busy. Teaching at a private elementary school has a lot of benefits when compared to my previous job. I have enjoyed the lack of coteaching and love being in control of my own classroom. However, I have not escaped the Korean workplace and still encounter many snafus related to this. I've learned that patience is the key and one can be strict with the students but not take it emotionally.
My gosh did it go so fast! I am really pleased that this semester has come to an end. Of course, kind of not looking forward to three weeks of camp with the same group of kids. But, in essence the toils and trials of everyday work will not come to me again till September.