IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM

I’ve been working much harder this semester. I can’t believe it’s already been a month. Pushing myself to go above and beyond the work I did last semester is my daily goal. To be honest, I can’t keep up with everything. But, when have I ever been able to?

In addition to following fairly strict (self-inflicted) lesson planning guidelines, I’ve been intentional about meeting with my co-teachers before classes. This is to ensure all of us understand the materials, and how we’re going to present each lesson together. It takes a lot of effort, but I can tell it’s paying off already.

Recently, I’ve offered to take on some extra classes to help ease the workload of my co-teachers. Besides instructing, many Korean teachers have several other duties and responsibilities. The last thing any of my co-teachers wanted to do was add three extra classes to plan for and teach every week.

I’m excited about this opportunity. I’ll be teaching one extra fifth grade, and one additional sixth grade class after school every week. The program is designed for advanced students. Classes are also much smaller in size. Normally I teach about 40 students per class. After school, I get to connect with ten.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a Guest English Teacher at a large elementary school is meeting the needs of all students. I simply can’t. In each class I have advanced learners, intermediate learners and some students that can’t even read or write the English alphabet. How am I supposed to plan a 40-minute session to teach all students the same content?

What I do will never be enough. And that’s okay. But, I’m constantly replaying lessons in my head, wondering what could have gone better, and coming up with new ideas to use in class. Even while I brush my teeth or take a shower.

Peace Corps is often referred to as, “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” I believe the same is true for teaching. My job never ends. Every interaction in and out of the classroom is an opportunity. Call me crazy, but I love it. All the extra work is totally worth it.

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